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More than 30 North Dakotans in Boston for Marathon - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

More than 30 North Dakotans in Boston for Marathon

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We know of at least 30 locals who were running the Boston Marathon.  Valley News Live spoke with a Grand Forks, North Dakota woman who finished just minutes before the first explosions happened.

Rachel Hellyer says she has run the Boston Marathon in the past and says everything seemed normal. She finished the race 20 minutes prior to the explosion and was just a couple of blocks away.

She says she has never heard a sound like it, but described it as if two freight train had just collided. Hellyer is now at a hotel just a couple blocks away from where the chaos is happening and can see rescue crews still frantically working.

"It's very scary and very frustrating that there would be people in the world that want to do this. To take something that's such a celebration of life, health and wellness and turn it into something like this, a tragedy."

Rachel says phone service is very spotty in Boston making it difficult for anyone to be in contact with loved ones.  Another East Grand Forks woman who also ran the marathon she says they're being told to not use their cell phones and that cell towers will be shut off in fear that use will set off another explosion.

Another North Dakota woman who finished the Boston Marathon minutes before two bombs exploded says she is in disbelief and called the event "surreal."

 Julie Jeske was about two blocks away getting food when two bombs exploded in the packed streets near the finish line Monday. Two people were killed and more than 50 others were injured.

Jeske says she could see the smoke billowing out but tried to stay away so that emergency responders could attend to the injured.

She says, "I think everyone wasn't really processing what was going on."

Jeske was one of 17 runners from Bismarck competing in the race. This is her fourth time running the Boston Marathon. She says she is now rethinking running the New York City Marathon.

As far as the Fargo Marathon goes, race Director Mark Knutson says a group of people who put together the Fargo Marathon are in Boston. Knutson is talking with Valley News Team's Amy Unrau, we'll have much more from him later tonight.

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