PORTLAND A Boston Marathon runner returned home to Portland, feeling like he had been protected by a miracle after he was hit by debris near the finish line one day earlier.

Brian Berchtold told KGW he saw a plume of smoke from the first explosion and then the second blast knocked him off his feet.

The second explosion went off less than 100 feet away from me as I was making my way to the finish line, he said. We just hit the ground and debris was flying everywhere... As we ducked, we covered our heads and you could feel it falling down all over the area.

Berchtold was hit by some of the flying debris but he was not injured. With the little strength he had left, he hurried to his feet, jumped over a barricade, and ran into a nearby Apple store.

He said employees and customers at the Apple store took care of him and also gave him a jacket and a cell phone to call loved ones.

It was a unique human spirit that happened during that horrible, horrible tragedy, he said. It s a miracle. It s a blessing. I m very, very fortunate.

Brian and his wife had an emotional reunion at the Portland International Airport late Tuesday night. He said he s so glad to be home.

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