Two explosions shook the finish line area of the Boston Marathon, near Copley Square. Eyewitness reports had details of bloodied runners and spectators. Canadian Running‘s web producer Michael Doyle reported from the scene.
“It is a surreal situation,” Doyle said about an hour after the explosions. “It is the usual kind of hectic race scenario; the finishing chute after the race is packed with thousands of people coming through. I think many of them had no idea, were completely unaware of what was going on. As I was making my way closer to the scene here, it was a mixture of people who were upset and crying and who seemed to be cognizant of what was going on and those who I think were completely unaware of the situation. Now, I’m seeing military and seeing people with assault rifles and a lot of ambulances. Things have become quite sparse. They’ve put the area into lock-down pretty fast.”
The explosions near the finish line happened just as many four-hour marathoners were making their way down the home stretch on Boylston Street.
The FBI has called it a terrorist attack.
Police say three people died and more than 100 were injured.
The Associated Press reports that two more unexploded devices were found on the scene.
A senior U.S. intelligence official says two more explosive devices have been found near the scene of the Boston marathon where two bombs detonated earlier.
The official said the new devices were being dismantled.
The explosions went off hours after the winners crossed the finish line. However, there were still many participants finishing the 42.2K event at the time.
The event attracts more than 25,000 participants. The 2012 marathon featured 2,200 Canadians and there were just as many in Monday’s race.
Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs recommends people concerned about loved ones who are in Boston should call 1-800-387-3124 for more information. Prime Minister Stephen Harper and President Obama issued their condolences to the victims and their families. Obama pledged to find out who was responsible and hold them accountable for the attack.
Meanwhile, Monday’s tragedy will certainly have an impact on future mass participation road races. Next Sunday’s Vancouver Sun Run has 50,000 entrants, about double the runners that the Boston Marathon had. “Obviously, we’re concerned by this,” said Sun Run spokesperson Jamie Pitblado. “We’ll be making sure our emergency preparedness plan is as solid as it always has been.”
Sun Run organizers have planned an emergency meeting Tuesday with Vancouver city, fire and police officials to determine if they need to adjust anything in their security plan.
The Sun Run is a 10K, so there is considerably less area to secure, but organizers of marathons and running events across North America are monitoring the situation in Boston closely.
Charlene Krepiakevich, executive director of the BMO Vancouver Marathon, called it “shocking,” and issued the following statement:
“We are saddened by the shocking news from the Boston Marathon today. On behalf of the Vancouver Marathon, our sympathies go out to the runners, families, friends and others affected by this tragic event. With the BMO Vancouver Marathon just weeks away (May 5) , the Vancouver International Marathon Society has worked extensively with city stakeholders, including police, fire, medical and others, to develop a solid emergency plan. We want to reassure runners and our extended running community that safety and security are our top priorities.”[HTML2]