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Boston Marathon Runner Finished Minutes Before The Explosions

Vanessa Gomez |
April 18, 2013 | 12:43 a.m. PDT

Staff Reporter


Wendy Jennings and her husband, Don Jennings, helped people minutes after the explosions happened in Boston on Monday. (Photo via Facebook)
Wendy Jennings and her husband, Don Jennings, helped people minutes after the explosions happened in Boston on Monday. (Photo via Facebook)
She qualified for the 2013 Boston Marathon with a time of 3:50 from her first marathon, the Coeur d'Alene marathon in Idaho. So Boston was her second marathon ever. She ended up running about a 3:45. She thought the first explosion on Monday at the finish line went off at 3:50, minutes after she finished the race. 

"It was a good thing I ran faster this time," said Wendy Jennings. 

Wendy Jennings is an avid runner from Huntington Beach, CA. She ran in the Boston Marathon on Monday and finished right before the first explosion went off. She crossed the finish line and she said 300 people were crammed there because they were giving out tin foil-like towels to the runners when they finished to keep them warm. Ten steps further is where the marathon volunteers kept the medals and lines of buses where the bags of runners were kept. She spotted her husband yelling, "Wendy, Wendy!" 

"He was standing right in front of the bus," said Jennings."We just turned and we were probably about 50 feet from where the bombs went off. It was a big huge bomb and about maybe 20 or 30 seconds later, another bomb. So, my husband said, "Get under the bus. Get under the bus!" 

As soon as the first bomb went off, which felt like an earthquake according to Jennings, law enforcement officials closed off the finish line area because no one knew what was going on. No one was allowed to leave the premises. Jennings and her husband got out from under the bus after the second explosion went off. 

"So we were walking by and the police officers stopped us and said, 'We need help carrying out bodies. We need help.' It was just a big fat panic because at the end [of the race], there's just thousands of spectators," Jennings said. 

The scene was utter chaos. After about 15 minutes, every neighbor had come out. 

"The pavement was full of blood, people without their legs, and it was just a horrible, horrible scene. As we got locked at the finish line, we couldn't move," said Jennings. 

Restaurant owners locked their doors immediately because they didn't know what was going to happen next. She wasn't quite sure, but she guessed her and her husband were closed in the finish line corral for about 20-45 minutes. 

"We were dragging people off the sides of the roads. The good thing was there were tons of wheel chairs because people fall down at the end of the race [anyways], so they [already] had lots of wheel chairs," said Jennings. "We were helping carry out the stretchers."

Jennings' husband is an ordained pastor and she said the police were yelling for any paramedics and religious leaders in the crowd, so they told him to get through the crowd to help others. Everyone seemed to be lending a helping hand.

"I was freezing because I was soaking wet, and this guy from Boston just took off his coat and said, 'Here's my coat. Take it.' I mean, really the charity of the people of Boston was really amazing," said Jennings. 

Her and her husband headed back to their hotel when they got the chance. But everything was closed down; trains, streets, restaurants, taxis. A paramedic and fire marshal were honking at them telling them to run, but she said she just couldn't. 

"My legs, you know- had just got done running. So I was yelling back, I'm trying. I'm trying to run." 

They had to walk seven miles to their hotel, where they had to show their ID to security guards and the police to get in. She didn't have her ID with her, but luckily her husband did. They were able to get in to the hotel and the guards were warning people there. 

"They told us 'If you see anyone suspicious with a backpack or someone that looks [suspicious], tackle them and find somebody,'" said Jennings. 

Jennings and her husband stayed the night in their hotel that night and Jennings said she woke up and could barely move the next day. She has ran over 50 half marathons and this is her second marathon. The Boston Marathon was the best course she's ever ran though and it wasn't because of the actual terrain itself. 

"They planned it super, super well. People were having BBQs in their front yards because it was a holiday for them. All these kids were out there handing out oranges and everything. The city that we ran through was the most participation I've ever seen," Jennings said. 

Jennings described the marathon as a lively, festive event when she was running because it was a holiday for everyone. She thought the explosions really devastated everyone involved. 

"It's very hard to get in to Boston. It's like people's dreams to go to Boston, and it's their city's pride so much, and their holiday. And it was a very sad day." 

Three people lost their lives and dozens were injured from the explosions. Investigation is still under way to find the people involved. 

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