Keith Almeida finished the Boston Marathon Monday about 12 minutes before the first explosion. He heard the blast from the finishers' corral located less than a mile from where the bomb went off.
"It sounded like a cannon," he said.
A few seconds later, the 61-year-old Enfield resident turned to see the second blast. Emergency responders immediately started running toward the blasts, but marathon volunteers did well and kept working, he said.
Almeida said it was the second blast that made him think that he should flee the area. He also began to worry about his daughter and grandson who were waiting for him about a mile away.
Almeida said he headed toward the hotel where he was staying, which was located about two blocks away from the marathon's finish line. He said he was able to get inside, and he attempted to reach his family.
"I tried calling them, and the phones were dead," he said.
There were a few scary moments, but Almeida said he eventually reunited with his relatives, who were not injured in the blasts, in the hotel lounge.
Almeida, who works part-time at Fleet Feet Sports in West Hartford, has run 39 marathons, and Monday marked his eighth straight Boston Marathon. The day's tragic events won't stop him from running another race — even in Boston, he said.
Just hours after his hectic Monday, Almeida, who is already planning for his next marathon, was back in Connecticut and back at work as a driver of the Magic Carpet, Enfield's town-wide bus.
Almeida is so passionate about running that he regularly updates a blog about his training and races: http://keithsrunning.blogspot.com/.