Utahns in Boston react to marathon attack

- SALT LAKE CITY, (ABC 4 News) – Some Utahns will never forget what they heard or saw at the Boston Marathon on Monday.

Caryn Willardsen from Salt Lake City said she was almost done running the marathon when the first explosion went off in front of her. She said the other went off behind her.

“People were trying to pick up victims and carry them away from where the explosion happened,” Willardsen said. “One woman's leg wasn't attached.”

She said people were screaming and crying as they jumped over rails to get out of the area.

Tricia Reynolds and her brother frantically searched for their 69-year-old father William “Bill” Peck. Peck had already crossed the finish line, placing 25th in his age group.

“We just stood there and didn’t know what was going on,” Peck said, via the internet from his hotel room in Boston. “I didn’t realize it was a bomb even though it was pretty loud.”

Reynolds tracked down her father and sent her husband in Farmington a text. She said so many people were trying to call family or friends the cell phone service was nonexistent.

Her husband, Spencer, took to social media to find out more about what was happening.

“I have lots of Facebook friends and it was like hundreds that had said things,” he said.

Reynolds’s first reaction was to get out of downtown Boston, but officials shut everything down. The family finally made it back to their hotel safely.

Spencer said he feels for the victims of the race, many of whom were strong runners who had trained months for the marathon.

“Who does this at an event of health?” he added.

While two people were killed and dozens of others were hurt, none from Utah have any reported injuries. There were 352 Utahns registered for the Boston Marathon.

Willardsen said she is breathing a sigh of relief, but she is still fearful.

“Being away from home is scary,” she said. “My kids are scared. Everybody is worried even though we are safe here. We are lucky enough to be safe.”

Despite the attacks, Peck said he will return to the Boston Marathon next year, but first he plans to complete marathons in Utah, including the Wasatch 100.

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