04/15/2013 19:28 EDT | Updated 06/15/2013 05:12 EDT

Montrealers describe panic at Boston Marathon explosions

Montrealer Sonia Sabourin, a runner in the Boston Marathon, said she had crossed the finish line only minutes before she heard the explosions that rocked Boston on Monday.

“People were panicking,” Sabourin said.

She said she was heading towards her bus to pick up a bag when she heard the first blast, about 600 to 700 metres from where she was standing.

She turned to look and that’s when she says she heard the second blast.

Two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, killing three people and injuring over a hundred, police say.

CBC Montreal producer Meredith Dellandrea was in Boston to watch her sister run the race.

“I was waiting in a family waiting area about a block away from where the explosions went off,” she said.

She said the two explosions were about five seconds apart.

“People were shocked," Dellandrea said.

"People were looking around, not knowing exactly what happened and waiting for that thing that you dread, which is the sound of sirens coming next. And that's what we heard."

Meanwhile Sabourin says she's thankful she wasn't injured. It was her first time running the Boston Marathon.

“I feel pretty lucky to be alive."

At McGill University, members of the student track and field team knew several people who competed in the marathon.

Team member Niamh Leonard said she spent most of the afternoon on her phone and on Facebook, making sure everyone she knew was okay.

“We all know a lot of people who are running in the marathon,” she said.

Leonard said one of her coaches ran in the marathon, and was lucky to finish about half an hour before the explosions.

Montreal Gazette fitness columnist Jill Barker said when she heard about the explosions, she thought of everyone she knew participating in the marathon.

“Now Boston is going to be thought of as not the race that you have at the pinnacle of your running career …you’re going to think about the tragedy, and that’s sad," she said.