It's not that unusual to see a handful of people run into health problems at marathons, but for folks seeing it play out in front of them -- maybe for the first time -- it can be scary.
"It's a terrible tragedy and my prayers go out to that family, but it was just kind of a chaotic scene," said Jay Smith, who walked out of his Boylan Heights apartment Sunday morning and saw emergency responders gathered around a runner frantically performing CPR. He said it was uncomfortable to watch, and the image is burned in his mind.
"It didn't seem very normal," Smith said.
He tried to get closer but the streets were packed. Thousands of spectators clogged city sidewalks as the Rock 'n' Roll marathon was underway
"It was just crowded and people milling around trying to figure out what was going on," Smith said.
We now know that two runners died trying to get the finish line. Smith said what occurred was tragic, but he is hoping it doesn't taint the race's future in Raleigh.
"It was a great thing for the city as a whole and it brought a lot of energy and excitement to downtown and I hope they keep coming back regardless of anything that could happen," Smith said.
A spokesperson from the marathon said they are absolutely devastated. That spokesperson also said a representative has spent the majority of the afternoon at the hospital with the families of the two runners, helping them cope with these losses.