Local woman feet from the Boston Marathon bomb returns for one last time

A local woman who was one of five runners crossing the finish line and just feet away from the first bomb that went off during last year’s Boston Marathon attack is returning to compete again this year.

“As soon as I stepped on the finish line itself, the bomb went off to my left,” said Mary Jenkins of Russell’s Point. “I just thought it was a cannon or something. I thought I triggered it because as soon as I stepped on (the line), it just went off.”

The Logan County woman is going back to compete in Monday’s Boston Marathon because she wants to complete the celebration she said was robbed of last April.

“I really wanted to do this one. I wanted to go out with a good feeling about the Boston Marathon and celebrate running,” said Jenkins.

The scene was a blur for Jenkins after the bomb went off. She remembers getting a medal and water handed to her, and being told by a volunteer to “make sure and hydrate.”

Jenkins also recalled that people were pushing her through the finishing shoot when the second bomb went off, when she said most people realized it was an attack.

“That’s when everything went crazy,” she said.

Jenkins explained she felt guilty for not going back and helping injured runners until she watched the footage and realized there was no way she could have gotten back to them.

The 2014 Boston Marathon will be her sixth and she expects it to be her last, but admitted she says that every year. Jenkins was not planning on going to the marathon this year because she did not achieve a qualifying time. However, the Marathon ended up adding 8,000 spots and Jenkins wrote an essay about about why she wanted to run and was invited back.

“I was just elated when they opened spots and there was a chance I could get in,” Jenkins said.

Jenkins said this year she is not running for time, like usual, but rather to just enjoy the experience. She also plans to run the race with one of the other runners who was on the finish line with her when the bomb went off. Jenkins added she has created a “special bond” with the other four runners who crossed the line with her. She said no one else will ever experience what the five of them have.

After last year’s race, she was flown out to Los Angeles to be on the Piers Morgan Show with two of the other runners. Jenkins said she didn’t like the limelight, but wanted to just talk to them about what they were experiencing.

Jenkins is also part of documentary about the five runners who crossed the finish line when the bomb went off, and plans to have breakfast with them Tuesday morning to discuss their marathon experiences.

She expects to experience a lot of highs and lows during Monday’s race.

Jenkins said she heard the already large Boston crowds are supposed to double for the race.

“I can’t imagine what that will be like, because usually the crowds are huge in Boston,” Jenkins said.

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