Local runner makes it home safely

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Reported by: Janai Norman
Updated: 4/16/2013 10:20 am Published: 4/16/2013 10:07 am

This was Jason Collins third straight year running the Boston Marathon, but it was different than any other.

The Newkirk man says he crossed the finish line an hour before the first explosion.

He tells FOX23 News his phone died after the race, and he was in an airport shuttle when he first heard the news.

As he sat in the St. Louis airport awaiting his final flight back to Oklahoma, he says he watched news coverage of the tragic events that he narrowly missed.

“If I was an hour later, even 40 45 minutes later, I’d been walking through the area where the other bomb went off,” Collins said. “So, just thinking stuff like that, [it] obviously runs through your mind. It puts reality into check really quick.”
While Collins says Monday’s bombing won’t stop him from running in the marathon again next year, he says it was a game changer.

“You know the classic raising their hands, you know, going through that finish line and then boom, it hits. It's just crazy,” he says recalling the joy of crossing the finish line. “It makes you think it's not that big of a deal to finish the marathon really.”

Collins’ phone was dead for two hours. He was unable to reach worried friends and family, and they were unable to reach him.

“Once I finally got service, I had over 40 text messages from people trying to get a hold of me. My Facebook was just blowing up. And [people offering] support as far as us being okay, and everything being safe and okay.”

One of those trying to reach him was his best friend Matt Collins. He describes the worry and concern he faced, in the face of uncertainty.

“You're sitting there you're looking at every webcast that's out there, any kind of news, any kind of picture, trying to pick out what he was wearing,” Matt Collins recalls. “Shaking, crying, freaking out, your phone's blowing up from all his friends and family, it's just ridiculous.”

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