AUSTIN (KXAN) - Carly Lissack, a student at the University of Texas at Austin, finished her first Boston Marathon in just over four hours.
Feeling light-headed, she headed to an aide station before looking to find her family who was waiting near the finish line. About seven minutes after she completed her race, the blast hit.
"It sounded like thunder, but with metal," she told KXAN by phone from Boston. "But I knew it wasn't thunder. There wasn't a cloud in the sky."
Having lived most of her life in the post-Sept. 11 world, Lissack feared the worst. "We're on the national stage," she said. "You think terrorist attack."
Lissack, who was celebrating her 20th birthday in Boston and was among more than 200 area runners competing Monday, scrambled to find her parents. And then they made their way to safety.
Frank Livaudais, an Austin runner who was in a group of about 12 runners in Boston, also could feel the tension.
"I was heading back to the hotel and could hear a bunch of sirens and everything," Livaudais told KXAN. "My father-in-law finished right in front of it. He heard the first explosion.
"Then he turned around and saw the second one and all the smoke," he continued, adding that all 12 in his party were unhurt. "He got evacuated out and came back to the hotel as quick as he could."
Joe Grasso, a doctoral student at UT-Austin, was in Boston watching the event as a spectator. He had just left the area where one blast hit.
"I didn't see anything," he told KXAN via his Facebook page. "(It was) chaotic around Boston, lots of sirens, but I am thankful to be fine."
Two explosions occurred near the finish line around 1:45 p.m. At least three people were killed and more than 100 were injured.
The Boston Athletic Association's marathon register showed at least 187 runners from Austin participating in the race, and listed around two dozen others from surrounding communities.
"The scene at the Boston Marathon today is a sobering vision for us all, especially those who have friends or loved ones competing in today's race," Governor Rick Perry said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all those injured in the explosions, along with the first responders who braved danger to help get the wounded to safety."
Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo said his department is "closely monitoring the events surrounding the Boston Marathon."
"Although there is no specific threat directed toward the Austin area, the department has been placed on a heightened operational status in response to this mass-casualty event," said Acevedo. "Residents are reminded to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity, items, vehicles or individuals to law enforcement. We urge all of our business and public entity partners to review their suspicious package and bomb threat procedures with all of their employees."
The marathon register included runners from the following Central Texas communities:
Austin: 187 runners
Buda: 2 runners
Cedar Park: 10 runners
Dripping Springs: 2 runners
Georgetown: 6 runners
Kyle: 1 runner
Leander: 1 runner
Pflugerville: 1 runner
Round Rock: 4 runners
San Marcos: 1 runner
Here is a full list of the Texans who finished the prestigious 26.2-mile race.
A hotline has been set up for those trying to reach family in Boston. The number is 617-635-4500. Google also created a page to help family and friends find information about their loved ones.
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