AN Altrincham runner taking part in the Boston Marathon says he would have been caught up in the carnage of the terror attack if he was a slower runner.

Tony Collier has spoken of his horror at the explosions and his relief to have escaped unscathed.

Timperley resident Tony had completed the run and was on his way back to his hotel with wife Tracey when the two bombs exploded - killing three people and injuring 176, 17 critically.

It was only when Tony and Tracey got back to the hotel that they learned of the horrific scenes at the finish line.

They were accompanied by Tony’s fellow Styal Running Club runner Claire Northcote, who had also completed the marathon, and her husband, Richard, from Wilmslow.

Tony, the chairman of Altrincham and Sale Chamber of Commerce, had completed the race in three hours, 24 minutes, while Claire finished 10 minutes later.

He said: “If I was a slower runner I could have been going past as the bombs went off.

“Thankfully we had left the area about 20 minutes earlier.

“It was a shock when we got back to the hotel and learned what had happened.”

Tony, aged 56 - the managing director of Altrincham accountants Milner Boardman - continued: “It was very dramatic and frightening.

“This is the most iconic marathon race in the world. It is an amazing celebration.

“Why on earth would someone want to bomb people like me, who are running to raise money for charity, or the athletes?

“It felt like someone was trying to strike a blow into the heart of America - saying that wherever you have a big event, it will not be safe.”

He said the city went into 'lockdown' after the explosions with everyone told to stay in because of the fear of further attacks.

Tony’s group went into a local bar which went ‘completely quiet’ when President Barack Obama and the Mayor of Boston, Thomas Menino, spoke on TV.

He was full of admiration for the efforts of the yellow-clad volunteers to rescue people.

“We could see people in yellow jackets going into the bomb zone to try to rescue people. It was so incredibly brave as there could have been more bombs.”

After the explosion Tony and Tracey received about 200 messages from people concerned for their welfare. They contacted friends and family, including son Matthew, 29, and daughter, Stevie, 26, to assure them they were safe.

Now Tony - who was raising funds for the Children’s Adventure Farm Trust - and Tracey plan to head to Florida for a holiday.