Tom Beusse, president of the USA TODAY Sports Media Group, had just finished the Boston Marathon minutes before two explosions went off in the area near the race's finish line. He estimated he was 150 yards from the explosion.
He described the layout:
"On one side of the street is retail stores, where there was a limited viewing area. Across the street was a VIP viewing area with thousands of people. Beusse said, "If they 'd been on the other side, it would've been disastrous.
"I finished the race and began to walk through the corrals on the remainder of Boylston street. I was given an aluminum jacket -- you know, that they give you when you finish ... oranges and bananas and what have you. It couldn't have been more than three or four minutes. I was mid-Boylston street, and all of a sudden there was this giant explosion. All of us turned around, the runners, and had these looks on their faces like 'Oh my god.' We all knew it was something bad. A giant cloud of smoke rose above the buildings. Within 30 seconds or so there was another, and when the other one went, the same thing: boom and then a cloud of smoke. ... Immediately, it turned into mayhem. People were screaming. Cops told us to keep moving away from the finish line in the direction we were going. No one knew what was coming next -- and thankfully, nothing was next.
"They immediately turned the bomb site into a crime scene. Anybody that hadn't gotten to the finish line were immediately rerouted."
Beusse noted that many of the people who run marathons run to raise money for causes. "And so the notion that somebody would do this in a place where somebody is raising money for causes is beyond me. You wonder if people won't run them out of fear and less money will be raised."