ROSCOE (WIFR) -- One Stateline runner is back home enjoying time with family after the tragedy in Boston.
Jennifer Black has her first Boston Marathon medal in hand, and says she's grateful to have crossed the finish line when she did.
"The first one, it sounded like a cannon, everything shook and you didn’t realize what was happening, everyone was shocked and then shortly after there was another explosion. I saw smoke and I knew there was something not good going on,” says the Roscoe mom.
It took time for black to be reunited with her husband and another friend who were in Boston to cheer her on. It took even longer to get in touch with fellow runners who were still on the course.
"I knew my friend Tara was still out there, and I couldn’t get through to her. You don’t realize how bad it is until you see it on the news," says Black. Her friend, another Roscoe runner, Tara Sheetz remains stranded in Boston.
Back in the Stateline, runners like black who train together are logging extra miles in honor of the victims in Boston.
"The running community is together all the time, you almost need to be a runner to understand the bond,” says Mike Mapes, President of the Rockford Roadrunners. Mapes ran the Boston Marathon on April 15, 1996.
Some area runners are sporting special bibs to show their support for the bombing victims.
"I think if we can show support to for what happened to those folks, and let other folks know if you let stuff like this change you, they win,” says Steve Jaycox, owner of Runner’s Edge in Rockford.
Black finished with a personal best during her first Boston Marathon. She re-qualified to run the race next year, and says she probably will.
“There’s a little part of me that thinks, I would want to go back and run next year, because of all those people and that ruined experience for everybody, so there is a little part of me that wants to go back," says Black.
Black says she and her family are extremely grateful to have made in home already. Runner Tara Sheetz and others are expected to catch flights back to the Rockford region on Wednesday.