Exclusive: Local runner who witnessed the Boston bombing - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Exclusive: Local runner who witnessed the Boston bombing

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Joe Phillips ran in Boston Marathon and witnessed bombing Joe Phillips ran in Boston Marathon and witnessed bombing
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

For the first time 19 Action News is talking to a local runner who witnessed the Boston bombing. He had crossed the finish line just seconds earlier.

Joe Phillips was born and raised in northeast Ohio and to the best of our knowledge, is one of the only people from this area who was not only in Boston for the marathon, but actually witnessed the bombs go off.

We caught up with him heading into the Indians VS. Red Sox game.

But on Monday he was running in his 17th Boston marathon, and had just finished, and was 300-yards past the finish line when....

"I wanted to turn around but I didn't. And I turned around and I looked, and I saw the plume of smoke," said Joe Phillips. "I was angry. Because I knew what it was. I knew what it was before I turned around."

"And while I'm looking, all of the sudden boom, the second blast hit," added Joe. "When I heard that boom I heard hate. I heard hate for the first time in my life."

Phillips had just picked up his medal when it happened. He was walking next to a young woman who had finished with him. A woman he didn't know.

"The girl goes what was that? And I go, something wrong something bad. She said what was that? And I go I don't know but it's not good," said Joe Phillips.

From there the runners were told to leave the area. Phillips eventually re-connected with the other 20 runners from the Akron area who went with him and everyone was fine.

"What touched me so much and that's what really hit my heart was all the love from the people that wanted to know if I was OK. Classmates that I haven't seen in 40 years, friends that I hadn't seen in forever," said Joe.

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