Amy Compston, the local marathoner who finished the Boston Marathon about 30 minutes before the two explosions last week, said she and her family escaped injury only through God’s grace.
She originally thought she finished only 22 minutes before the first explosion, but later learned it was closer to 30 minutes.
Her family members, who were lined up at the finish line between where the two bombs detonated since 6:30 that morning, had left the area only five minutes before the bombs went off.
In Compston’s mind, that was no coincidence.
“God had his protection on us,” she said, showing a photograph of the family members who were in Boston. “He has work for us to do. Eleven of our family members were children and the bombs were made to hit low. God spared us.”
Compston, 28, gave a sometimes emotional talk to the East Greenup Kiwanis Club on Tuesday at its weekly meeting.
Compston finished among the top 16 percent of women runners and the top 23 percent overall in the world-famous race that attracted 23,000 runners. Her time of three hours, 27 minutes and 54 seconds was her personal best. She said the training on the hills of the area, including Ashland Avenue and 13th Street, prepared her for the hilly course in Boston.
“The hills are where I passed everyone,” she said. “He prepared me. I was on fire on those hills.
“I asked God for wisdom as I trained for the hills. I would run up and down Ashland Avenue six and seven times and on the road beside ACTC 11 times up and down.”
Compston, who wrote a daily journal for The Independent in the eight weeks leading up to the Boston Marathon, gave an often emotional testimony about younger days before detailing what happened during the race. She talked about her bouts with drugs and alcohol and how God saw fit to spare her.
She plans to use her running as a platform to bring people to Christ. Her family distributed 1,200 Bible tracts at the marathon last week. One of those tracts was spotted in a crime scene photo near where the explosion had blown off someone’s foot.
“I’m not the best runner in the world, but it’s a gift he’s given me,” Compston said. “He trusted me with the opportunity to write the articles in the newspaper and to run for him. He’s not done with me.”
Compston, who has four children and works full time as an ER nurse at King’s Daughters Medical Center, gave her husband, Chris, credit for being there for her.
“I have an awesome husband who sacrifices a lot,” she said.
She said even though many of her family members heard the bombs, they were in the opposite direction from the chaos in downtown Boston.
“All of them heard it, but the peace that God gave us was amazing,” she said. “We went and toured Boston the next day.”
During her last two weeks of training, Compston said she made a promise to God she would run an ultra-marathon and take donations for two Penne Paris Memorial schools in Uganda. Ultra-marathons are 50 miles (a regular marathon is 26.2). She will begin training in July for the November race in Nashville.
“I said, ‘If I don’t get injured in Boston, I’m going to do it,’” she said.
Compston said she would release more information about how to donate to the ultra-marathon at a later date. Or, she said those interested may email her email@example.com
Despite all that happened, Compston said she plans to return to Boston next year. Her time already qualifies her for the race.
“All my family is on board, too,” she said.
The Kiwanians invited Compston to participate in their 36th annual “Run by the River” 10K on June 8 — and even waived her entry fee.
Compston agreed to run, saying she uses 5Ks and 10Ks for “sprint work.”
MARK MAYNARD can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 326-2648.