When Amy Worthington realized she'd get to witness some of the world's elite runners cross the finish line at the Boston Marathon, she was thrilled.
What Worthington didn't know was how close she would come to serious danger.
The Utah tourist and member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints said she had been standing within 15 feet of where two bombs ripped through the crowd at the finish line, killing three people and injuring more than 100 others Monday. But thanks to a friendly invitation to lunch with some friends, Worthington was not at the finish line when the bombs went off.
Worthington planned the trip three weeks ago because Boston was a place she had always wanted to visit. In addition to seeing the sites around the city, she was excited to learn she'd be there during the running of the Boston Marathon.
"I love running. It was a dream come true to see Olympians and the elite athletes of the world," Worthington said.
Worthington arrived at the finish line early because she wanted to watch the runners come down the home stretch. She was there for more than three hours. During that time, she became acquainted with two families standing nearby. The mothers were sisters-in-law, and they'd come with their daughters. It was their spring break tradition to come down from Maine and see the marathon, Worthington said.
"We were chatting, using an app to track the runners, and I was helping the girls learn about those who were running," Worthington said. "Then they left."
For the next 10 or so minutes, Worthington said she had a strong feeling to leave, but she had a friend who was running and wanted to continue watching the race, she said.
"I felt like I needed to leave, but I wanted to stay," Worthington said. "Then one of the ladies came back and said, 'Hey do you want to come to lunch with us?' I said sure and while we were at lunch (more than an hour later) is when everything happened. I'm really glad they came back to get me. If not, I'd probably have stayed there and kept watching."
The aftermath of the bombing was overwhelming, Worthington said. She received several calls and texts from family members asking if she was all right, then she began worrying about all the people she knew along the marathon route.
"You see these things on TV, you read about them in the news, you see them in the movies, but it was completely surreal," she said. "I look around. Emergency vehicles and sirens were everywhere. All the transit shut down. There was a moment of panic. That's when it sunk in that something big had happened and I was there."
As Worthington charged her phone at a Starbucks, she saw a picture of an ambulance next to the light pole where she'd been standing a few hours earlier.
"That was a moment of shock. Seriously, I was just there," she said. "It wasn’t until that night that it sunk in how fortunate I really was."
In a few days Worthington will return to Utah and start a new job with the United Way of Salt Lake City.
She's grateful for what she gained from this experience and realizes she needs to live every day to the fullest.
"No one was planning to die (Monday). We don't know what will happen. Too often we don't value life for the gift that it is," she said. "I’m grateful to know that I have another chance to live my life and to do good things."
Email: email@example.com Twitter: tbtoone