Natalie Bitton never planned on running a marathon. But, after some encouragement from a few friends and running her first marathon this past September she found a new passion.
Her fleet feet would end up taking her to Boston for a race and an experience she won't soon forget.
"It was incredible, just being surrounded by runners," said Natalie Bitton. "It just felt like we were one body. There was a lot of unity among people. We were all runners, we are all here for the same thing it was just a high. I felt like I was on a runners high the whole 26 miles."
"We went through city after city and the thing that stood out most to me was the spectators. Every city, the roads on both sides were almost packed the whole 26 miles. I had a shirt that I printed 'Idaho' on the front - for some state pride - and people were yelling, go Idaho," and 'I love your potatoes.' I was running on the side by the fence giving high-fives the whole time. It was really cool, and everyone was just happy."
"I crossed the finish line about 54 minutes before the explosions. They corral you forward and you go down a couple of blocks and they're giving you water, medals, and a Mylar blanket to warm you up. I walked around the corner to the family meeting area and was waiting for my husband because he had been watching me at mile 24 so he had to take the subway over and that took forever."
"So, I sat down and I had received a lot of text messages from family and friends congratulating me and was just texting people, sitting by some other runners when I heard the explosions. I looked over at another runner and we just kind of looked at each other and said 'that sounded like a bomb.' We kind of dismissed it thinking this is one of the best days ever, that couldn't happen. I really didn't think that much of it."
"Another runner came and sat by me and we started talking about it a little bit and she had actually crossed the finish line about when the first explosion went off. She told me she turned around and she saw a building with glass and glass was just going everywhere. That's when I realized something had happened.'
"A man walked by who had crossed the finish line probably during the first explosion and he was just covered with shrapnel wounds from head to toe. He was only wearing shorts and his running shoes so he had little one inch marks all over his body and his hands were bleeding. He looked nervous and anxious to call his family he walked over to an area and immediately found a cell phone and some officials were there helping him wrap up his wounds. I saw a mom who was a runner and her husband with their little girl who obviously had been there and had seen what had happened. She was just in tears, obviously very scared."
"We got to the subway and they had closed the subway. So, we ended up walking three miles back to the hotel along the street of the race. We got to see the after race and it was just empty."
"The contrast was crazy, from runners high to all of the sudden quiet and nobody cheering and shouting. It was just totally opposite. We didn't really know what had happened until we went back to the hotel and turned the news on."
Despite all that Natalie has been through, she says she would run the Boston Marathon again if given the chance.