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Utah Natives Cross Boston Finish Line Unhurt, Respond to Bombings

Boston Marathon

This story originally aired as three separate stories. They have been weaved together for a more complete picture of what happened in Boston. 

Two explosions rocked the finish line at the Boston Marathon Monday afternoon. While people panicked, police tried to make sense of what just happened and prevent any other explosions.

According to the Boston Marathon website, more than 350 runners registered for Monday's race were Utahns. One of these runners, Kristen Munson said she was one of the lucky ones.

"I'm grateful that people I know are safe and I'm really kind of devastated," she said.

AP reports indicate three people were killed and more than 100 were injured.

"We saw ambulances go by and it was just horrible," Munson said. "You knew people inside were volunteers and fans and runners, and just people who were wonderful."

Family and friends in Utah are still receiving information about the status of the their loved ones in the Boston Marathon.
Dr. Marcellus Assiago is a nephrologist, or someone who specializes in kidney care, from St. George, and  was one of the Utahns to cross the finish line Monday. 
Nurse Melinda Palmer has worked for the 38-year-old doctor for the last five years. Palmer says she and other co-workers were monitoring Assiago’s progress in the marathon until he crossed the finish line at 1:30 with a total time of 3 hours and 7 minutes.
"We were eating lunch and one of our co-workers texted us and said, 'Did you hear about the bombing in Boston?' so we were pretty freaked out," Palmer said. "I had texted [Dr. Assiago] right after he had gotten finished, and he didn't text back for almost an hour and 50 minutes maybe? So we were a little bit worried when we got that message."

Palmer said Dr. Assiago was eventually reached and assured his staff that he was uninjured.

Not all runners and families were able to communicate with their loved ones, and Munson said after the bombs went off, chaos surrounded the city with loved-ones unable to find each other.

"A lot of people don't have phones or anything when they run, so meeting up with loved ones was chaotic for those people. I think there's a lot of confusion," she said.

The confusion is not limited to those in Boston, however. Palmer said she doesn't understand why this happened.

"It's so strange to me, it's just like what is wrong with the world?" Palmer said. "You have to feel bad for those runners who ran all that way and then couldn't finish, or got hurt finishing. It's just, it's so sad."

The shockwaves from the blast are being felt in Utah, where the founder of the Top of Utah Marathon in Cache County reached out to the victims of the bombing on Monday afternoon.

Bob Henke, who’s directed the popular Utah race for 14 years, said he was shocked to hear about the deadly blasts. Top of Utah finishers frequently race in the Boston event.

"I can't imagine the stress and the concern and the frustration and every emotion you can think of that those in charge of the that race - who have put in all that effort and planned for security and everything," said Henke. "All that they’ve done, and then to have something like happen is amazing.”

Henke, who is a Boston Marathon finisher, says today’s tragedy could lead to changes in the way security is handled at future Top of Utah events.

"It's devastating," he added. "And I look at it as both a Boston Marathon runner - I know what it's like at the finish line - and then as a race director. How do you even prepare for that? I'm amazed that they were able to change the finish line and let runners continue to finish. You don't plan for anything like that. At least we don't here. We probably have to rethink our security now."
As of 7 p.m. MDS Boston police said three people were dead and hundreds injured.  For those looking for information on loved ones participating in the marathon, the hotline number is 617.635.4500, or go to Google finder on the Boston Marathon page.

Mackinzie Hamilton started her career in 2009 as a reporter for 610 AM KVNU and staff writer for Cache Valley before joining UPR in 2011. A freshman at Utah State University, she is majoring in Journalism and communications with a minor in vocal performance.