Amy Bartholomew and Bryan Koepp
ATLANTA -- Atlanta is no stranger to big races and the support for the Boston community after Monday's bombings has poured in.
361 people from Georgia were registered to run the race.
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Bryan Koepp and his wife Amy Bartholomew are two of the Georgia residents who were at the Boston Marathon during the bombing.
Bartholomew had already finished the race and was getting a massage when the explosion occurred. Koepp was in the grandstands near the finish line watching runners complete the race. Both are safe Monday night.
Bartholomew finished her run about 90 minutes before the blasts. She was in the VIP tent near the finish line.
"The blast almost rattled me right off of the massage table," said Bartholomew. "There was a panic with people looking out of the tent door. You could see the smoke over the finish line."
"All I saw was an explosion and a rain of bricks and glass came down," said Koepp. "Some of the things you saw were pretty horrifying. I saw a young boy about 7 who had a head injury."
Shawn Hardister of Dunwoody finished the race about 45-minutes before the explosions. He was waiting a couple of blocks from the finish line to reunite with his family.
"Heard two loud explosions that sounded like cannons," said Hardister. "I saw a lot of people with shocked looks on their faces and then a barrage of ambulances."
Hardister said he and others were escorted away from the area. It took him about an hour to reunite with his wife, son, and two daughters.
"Jennifer and Elizabeth showed up a little teary-eyed," said Hardister. "They were happy to see me."
Chattahoochee High School graduate Danielle Norris, who is in Boston to attend art school, was a quarter mile from the Boston Marathon finish line. She and friends considered moving closer but decided against it.
"We hear two explosions that sounded exactly like cannonball blasts like you would hear in a movie about battleships," said Norris.
Mike Noopi of Atlanta was also in the grandstands waiting for his wife to finish the marathon. The blast caused ringing in his ears.
"I tried to keep things calm," said Noopi. "In that moment I was kind of numb. I was more numb than scared."
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Mike Beaudreau, a former Gwinnett County Commissioner, has been reported safe after running the marathon. Fellow Gwinnett resident Joseph Wilson, a spectator, is also safe.
Mylaps, a sports timing company with North American headquarters in Atlanta, had several staff at the finish line. The company's CEO was also running the race. All are safe but extremely shaken up.
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A metro Atlanta running company has planned a moment of silence and memorial run to show solidarity with victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Nathan Haskins, general manager of Big Peach Running Co. in Midtown Atlanta, says the chain of stores has organized a moment of silence and memorial run slated to begin Tuesday at 7 a.m. Haskins says Tuesday's run is expected to last for at least one mile.
Haskins says a Big Peach group run leader was one of 346 Georgians who registered for the marathon, and one of the company's general managers was in the stands before the explosions. Haskins says both left the area before the blasts and have been accounted for.
Here are some of the statements from local leaders:
"My prayers go out to the people of Boston, and especially to those who were killed or injured in today's attack. As the evidence mounts that this was a terrorist attack, our intelligence and law enforcement agencies must do whatever is necessary to find and interrogate those responsible so we can prevent similar attacks," said US Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) in a statement.
"We are deeply saddened to hear the news of today's events in Boston," said Atlanta Track Club Executive Director Tracey Russell. "Safety at every Atlanta Track Club event is our top priority. As it relates to security with any large-scale event in Atlanta, we work very closely with the City's Police and Fire Departments and Emergency Medical Service units, as well as the Federal Emergency Management Agency and additional government agencies. Our hearts go out to the entire Boston community and the victims affected by this tragedy."
"My thoughts and prayers are with the City of Boston today and all those who have been affected by today's tragic events. I am deeply saddened to hear of the loss of life and injuries suffered by so many people. Here at home, the City of Atlanta's First Responders are currently taking additional measures to enhance the safety of our citizens and protect them from senseless acts of violence," said Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed in a statement.
"Our hearts are heavy upon learning of the tragedy that occurred in Boston today. I ask that my fellow Fulton County citizens join with me in prayer this evening for our friends, family and fellow citizens who have lost their lives or sustained injuries as a result of this senseless incident. Our thoughts are also with the first responders who place their own lives at risk to restore safety," said Fulton County Chairman John Eaves.