JACKSONVILLE, Fla.-- They ran together, they suffered together and Tuesday, they flew home to Jacksonville together. Local runners returned from Boston, bonded as they left JIA, hoping to leave the horror at the marathon far behind them.
"It just was one of those things that shook you," said Mike Beeman, a Jacksonville runner. "You knew something happened, I just didn't know what.
Beeman was approaching the finish line with his daughter Melonie when the bombs went off.
"It happened at 25.9, I got to 25.8," he said. "I was a tenth of a mile from where it all happened."
He says other runners may have saved them.
"As ironic as it was we got some pictures together during the race which slowed me down, because I had to stop," said Beeman. "God works in strange ways so I didn't have to be in that explosion. It was huge."
It was an explosion so powerful, and the images were so terrifying that Beeman says they will haunt him for the rest of his life.
"You saw the running and the screaming, and the terror and all I can think of is 9/11 and all the people just running towards us. It's just one of those sights you're just not going to forget for a while, it's very sad."
Local runners say the silver lining of the incident is the bonds they made with each other and with the people of Boston, who provided them with food, water and blankets as the tragedy unfolded.