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Salt Lake City Resident Narrowly Avoids Explosions at Boston Marathon

Rennly Williams

After the explosions in Boston Monday, one Salt Lake City mother was relieved to find out that her daughter was safe at the Boston Plaza Hotel. But the family is still having trouble getting past the incident.

Rennly Williams says she didn’t see or hear the explosion at the finish line. Her boyfriend Tom Hickenlooper had finished the race 10 minutes before – faster than he expected because of a knee injury. Just a little slower, and he and Williams might have been there for the blast. 

“My heart is beating a little more than usual,” Rennly says. “I keep going back to I wonder where I was exactly when that happened.  I walked right past exactly where the bombs exploded earlier today, and it’s just so surreal that this is actually happening.”

Williams was not able to talk to her mother until she got checked into the Boston Plaza Hotel and use the landline there. 

“As a mother, you want to hear their voice,” Gerry Williams says. “When I heard her voice, I knew everything was well, even though her voice sounded rather… dead. That’s an awful word to use at this time. It didn’t sound like the way she usually sounds.”

Williams’ mother says she feels grateful that her daughter is safe.  Now she wants to put the whole incident out of her mind, but she can’t. 

“When something like this comes across our path - even at a distance - you don’t want to have to deal with it.  You want to have your day be like it would normally be, and yet it hasn’t been.  It’s been scarred by what happens to other people.  You can’t help but have that connected feeling,” Williams’ mother says. 

Utah had more than 350 runners registered in the Boston Marathon. Governor Gary Herbert has ordered flags to be flown at half-staff for Boston victims until sunset on Saturday.

Andrea Smardon is new at KUER, but she has worked in public broadcasting for more than a decade. Most recently, she worked as a reporter and news announcer for WGBH radio. While in Boston, she produced stories for Morning Edition, Marketplace Money, and The World. Her print work was published in The Boston Globe and Prior to that, she worked at Seattleââ
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