River Valley Runner Returns Home After Deadly Bombing

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A River Valley woman returned home Tuesday (April 16) night from the Boston Marathon. Mary Jo Brinkman was about half a mile from the finish line when the bombs went off.

"I'm just so happy to be back here at home," Brinkman said after getting off the plane.

Brinkman was scheduled to land in Fort Smith around 6 Tuesday night. However, she was delayed for several hours in Dallas. That's because her plane was grounded due to a system-wide computer glitch with American Airlines booking system.

"I'm thankful to be out of Boston and be back here in Fort Smith but there's so many people that have lost their family members and people that are still in Boston hospitals," Brinkman said. "It's so sad. So we just want to remember them in our prayers and hope that they can get through this tragedy."

Brinkman explained that no one could believe what was happening when they first heard the news about the explosion.

"At first, everybody kept going but then it was real and they just stopped us and wouldn`t let us go any farther," Brinkman explained.

Her family, eagerly awaited her return home Tuesday evening.

"Our biggest worry was yesterday when this bombing first happened and we couldn't get a hold of her,"Mike Brinkman, her husband, said. "We didn't know what happened or if she was okay. When we did finally heard from her that was our biggest relief."

It was more than an hour after the explosions went off Monday (April 15) when Brinkman was able to call her family at home in Fort Smith, according to her daughter, Bridget Hargrave.

"She called and I was like, 'Oh my god, oh my god. Are you okay?' And she was like 'I'm okay. I'm okay. I was half a mile from the finish when they stopped me,' I think is what she said," Hargrave explained.

Mary Jo told her husband that her foot had been bothering her during the race, so she had stopped to walk for several minutes. Her family said they were thankful she did.

"If she'd been running any faster she would've been at the finish line," Hargrave said. "A half of a mile is not that long. She would've been right there when the explosions happened."

For more stories of local runners who were in Boston during the explosions, CLICK HERE.