KANSAS CITY — A Missouri woman shown in a widely circulated photograph of the two men accused of the Boston Marathon bombing wonders what might have been had she not insisted that her mother and sister forgo the finish line and instead meet her at "Heartbreak Hill," an ascent at 20 miles into the marathon, for a special family tribute.
Tina Bradshaw, a 20-year-old junior at Missouri State University in Springfield, safely crossed the marathon's finish line about 10 minutes before the explosions that killed three people and injured about 180 people.
One of the most widely circulated photos of the two suspects shows the men apparently watching as runners go by, with Bradshaw in the front right corner.
Bradshaw's mother, Jennifer, and her sister, Amanda, accompanied Tina to the race. Her mother said Tina wanted the three of them to be together at Heartbreak Hill. It was there that Tina would toss a bracelet she had woven for her father, Scott Bradshaw, who died of cancer in November at age 51.
Tina Bradshaw made the bracelet for her dad to wear on his "chemo arm."
"She was holding his hand when he died, and she said can you take it off and put it on my arm," Jennifer Bradshaw said of the bracelet. "She said she was going to untie it and throw it on Heartbreak Hill in honor of her father."
If Tina Bradshaw hadn't insisted that her mother and sister be at Heartbreak Hill with her for the bracelet toss, they likely would have lingered at the finish line to savor the accomplishment, Jennifer Bradshaw said.
"That was the thing. I would have been at the finish line about that time, and Tina would have been coming back to find me," Jennifer Bradshaw said. "It's crazy."
Jennifer Bradshaw, who lives in Liberty, said the photograph of her daughter running past the two suspects was a scary reminder of what might have been.
But Tina Bradshaw, who had written "For My Dad" on the back of her leg, said she felt her father's presence the entire race.
"I definitely believe that he was there watching out for us," she said Monday. "He would never let anything happen to any of us."