Massage therapist Donna Cormier was providing massage to runners in the basement of the Back Bay Grand events center just a few blocks from the Boston Marathon finish line when two bombs exploded Monday afternoon, according to an article published today by The Conway Daily Sun newspaper.

“‘We were in full swing, giving massages, to [runners]'” said Cormier, in the article, “‘when all of a sudden, the leader of the massage room said we all need to evacuate the building, and to help our clients off the tables. My first thought was that there was something wrong with our building.'”

What happened was the detonation of two bombs in quick succession, which killed three people and injured more than 170, 17 of them critically.

Another massage therapist, Michelle Zaydon, was working as a volunteer in a tent near the public library when she heard the bombs explode, according to an article published today by Foster’s Daily Democrat newspaper.

“‘I was working on a runner and heard the explosion and took two steps to my left and peeked out the opening of the event tent and could see just huge amounts of smoke coming up,'” the newspaper reported Zaydon as saying, “‘and as I’m standing there, another explosion went off, and they were big explosions. It was not light sounding. Nothing like a firecracker. It was the ground-shaking type of explosion.'”

Massage therapy is ubiquitous at major sporting events, and the Boston Marathon is no exception. From volunteers offering seated massage to runners who have crossed the finish line, to therapists working on teams running for specific sponsors, massage is an integral aspect of the event.

Inside the Fairmount Copley Plaza hotel, massage therapy students from Nashua Community College were providing massage to members of the American Liver Foundation’s team when the bombs went off, according to an article published in The Telegraph newspaper today.

“They were inside, in the midst of actually giving massages, and they could hear the explosion outside,” [massage therapy department chair] Pam Veiga said in the article.

At the time of the explosions, the runners left on the course included most of those who were participating in the marathon to raise money for charities. Among them were three leaders in the massage profession—Kathy Borsuk, co-owner of Hillsborough Massage Therapy LLC; Les Sweeney, president of Associated Bodywork & Massage Professionals; and Tom Heidenberger, president and owner of Bon Vital’ Inc.—who were running for Team Massage Therapy Foundation Running for Research. None of the three were injured in the blasts.