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People react as an explosion goes off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon (AP)

People react as an explosion goes off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon (AP)

AP

People react as an explosion goes off near the finish line of the Boston Marathon (AP)

A marathon runner has told how he prayed for three hours as he waited for his wife after two bomb blasts ripped through the Boston Marathon.

Eamon Loughran, from Ballymena in Northern Ireland, had arranged to meet his wife, Angela, by the flags at the finish line, exactly where the first device exploded. He said he went back to his hotel, where he walked up and down and cried.

"I was thinking the worst because I knew that's where I told her to be," he said. "I was looking at the TV, I was watching the TV to see. My wife was the only one that hadn't come back."

Mr Loughran said they both burst out crying when she walked in through the hotel door. "She was worried about me and I was so relieved, thankful to God," he told RTE. "I couldn't ring home when I had been in the hotel for three hours. I didn't want to ring until both of us were okay."

The Loughrans travelled with Dublin travel agent Sports Travel International, led by Eugene Coppinger, the deputy director of the Dublin Marathon. Mr Coppinger was watching the Boston Marathon live on television in the hotel to track the times of his 12 Irish and 12 British runners when the bombs exploded.

"I knew exactly where all the athletes were so I was able to safely say the quicker ones had been through the line before the explosion and the slower ones were nowhere near the line," he said. "But there were two to three that would have been finishing around that time so I had to wait to get confirmation on those."

He added that it took Mrs Loughran so long to make her way back to the hotel because the whole transport system was down. A total of 50 competitors listed Ireland as their country of residence on the Boston Marathon website, with 108 listed as an Irish citizen living elsewhere.

Foreign Affairs and Trade Minister Eamon Gilmore said his department - in particular the Irish Consulate in Boston - was doing all that it could to make contact with Irish nationals to check on their situation.

"So far, fortunately, all have been safely accounted for," he said. "However, the situation is still developing and I would ask any family who may be concerned for loved ones that they have not heard from and who might have been present in the area to contact my department."

Anyone with concerns should call 00 353 1 408 2000.

PA Media