The day after more than 100 people were injured, three fatally, in a series of two explosions at the Boston Marathon, many Chicago-area participants in the popular race returned home Tuesday.
Among those runners -- including 361 from Chicago and more than 500 more hailing from the suburbs and other parts of the states -- was 34-year-old Eric Giandelone, who told the Chicago Tribune that he "looked up and I saw debris flying" as he was drinking a cup of coffee near the race's finish line.
Spectator Angi Taylor, morning host at 103.5 KISS FM, told Fox Chicago she watched the horrific scene unfold from her hotel room just across the street from the explosions.
(Read LIVE UPDATES on the Boston Marathon explosions Scroll down to read about plans for solidarity running events scheduled for Tuesday evening in Chicago.)
"I saw facial injuries, I saw blood on faces, I saw people that couldn't walk anymore, medical units that were carrying people on sheets," Taylor told the station. "The scene on street was chaos…people walking, nobody knowing where to go."
Runner Heather Corcoran, of the suburban St. Charles-Geneva area, told CBS Chicago she not only heard the blast from her hotel, about two blocks away, but she felt it.
“It’s terrifying, it’s terrifying. I think everybody here, probably the first thing that goes through their mind is 9-11,” Corcoran told CBS. “You just pray, you just pray.”
According to the Chicago Area Runners Association and other area runners' groups, as of Tuesday morning, none of those wounded in the blasts were from the Chicago area and a majority of the local participants have already been located and accounted for.
Wendy Jaehn, CARA executive director, told NBC Chicago, "I don't think that anybody could have ever fathomed that someone would think about doing this at a marathon."
The Monday tragedy has prompted major cities nationwide to trump up security, including Chicago, which increased safety announcements on CTA trains and buses, according to DNAinfo Chicago. Metra also boosted safety precautions at its stations and on its trains and police have increased their presence downtown though there was no known specific threat to the city.
Security remained heightened downtown later Tuesday, ABC Chicago reports.
Some have already questioned what impact the Boston bombings will have on security at large-scale public gatherings in the city, including the Chicago Marathon in October.
Carey Pinkowski, the Chicago Marathon's director, was in Boston for the race and told the Tribune that the race's leadership team was already thinking about how the tragedy could change their preparations.
In an updated statement to NBC Chicago, Pinkowski added that "a comprehensive security review" lies ahead as Chicago Marathon organizers will look to quell the fears of anxious participants.
Chicago runners were planning to express their solidarity with Boston in Tuesday unity runs, including one hosted by CARA and beginning at the Foster Avenue Beach House at 6 p.m. The short run has 210 people RSVPed on its Facebook event page.
"We invite all runners to join us and run in honor of those who lost their lives and who were injured during this tragic ordeal," CARA said in an update to its Facebook page.
CARA is urging participants to wear red as a sign of solidarity with those impacted by the explosions in Boston.
Another unity run is being led by the Pilsen-based Venados Running Club beginning at 7 p.m.