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BMO Vancouver Marathon delayed by ‘suspicious device’ on course

After a shaky start, the 50th anniversary of the event was safe and successful

BMO Vancouver Marathon

Vancouver’s 50th BMO Marathon got off to a rocky start Sunday morning when the event was delayed due to a suspicious device found along the course near Science World. CTV News reports that Vancouver police feel “the device was ‘strategically placed’ to disrupt the BMO Vancouver Marathon Sunday morning, but has been ‘rendered inert.'” Due to the incident, the race started an hour behind schedule.

Police think the device, which was spotted just after 5 a.m. by a volunteer, was planted to cause panic and disrupt the event. 

Thankfully, it was a false alarm and the 18,500 runners were able to race safely. 

In elite results, Chris Balestrini took the win for the men in 2:23:56. On the women’s side, 2020 Olympian Dayna Pidhoresky won in a new course record of 2:34:30, surpassing Kim Doerksen’s 2:37:00 from 2014. Also under the former record was 2016 Olympian Lanni Marchant, who was second in 2:36:42. Post-race, Pidhoresky said, “It was a bit of a rollercoaster, mentally. Lanni and I were together for most of the first half of the race. She’s a tough competitor, so in no way did I ever think that I had it in the bag. I was working hard the whole time.”

Of his win, Balestrini mentioned the incredible views: “It’s so scenic and so fun. Going along the seawall is just amazing.”

In the half-marathon, Justin Kent and Olympian Ben Preisner crossed the finish line together in 1:04:54. Preisner, who was the top Canadian performer in the men’s marathon in Tokyo, has run consistently well since his first Games.

Post-race, Kent said he’s thrilled to see the running community back together: “It’s always a top-notch event. I heard that there are 3,000 volunteers–it’s amazing–we are super appreciative just to be here.”

In the women’s race, 2:28 marathoner Leslie Sexton continued her winning streak, taking the title in 1:14:56. Sexton, who has currently run the fastest marathon time within the qualifying period, has her eye on the World Championships marathon this summer. Olympian Natasha Wodak was also entered in the half on Sunday, but this time in the role of pacer. She helped her friend Julie Pelly to a personal best of 1:30.

Full results can be found here