Utah runners describe scene near Boston Marathon attack

SALT LAKE CITY – Dozens of Utah residents were at the Boston Marathon on Monday, both competing and supporting loved ones, as two bombs went off, killing at least two and injuring dozens.

Of the more than 23,000 runners at the marathon, 354 were from Utah.

Local runner Lisa Western qualified for the Boston Marathon in St. George last October. She was just two blocks from the epicenter of the two bombs near the end of the race.

“Myself and the people around me heard two very loud booms and very quick in succession. It went completely silent. Everybody looked around and waited for a reaction,” Western said. “At first, for maybe five minutes, nothing happened, then we started hearing sirens. My mom arrived shortly thereafter and we immediately started walking away from the scene.”

Pleasant Grove resident Jenny Gothe finished the race just one minute before the bombs went off.

“You’re just panicked. You’re scared. You hear about things happening, but you never imagine that you’re going to be in the middle of it,” Gothe. “And to hear about this 8-year-old little boy who is gone, he was probably watching his mom or his dad. It’s just sad that people go out of their way to harm others for no reason.”

Elizabeth Jenkins, who works at Salt Lake Running Company, says that when she first heard about the attack, she began calling friends, customers and trainers she knows who are running in the marathon, making sure they’re okay.

Jenkins says that runners routinely compete and train in conditions that are dangerous, but no one expects something like the bombings to happen. But she says Monday’s attack won’t deter those competing in the Salt Lake Marathon from running.

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