British Columbians running in the Boston Marathon began returning home on Tuesday, many of them feeling fortunate they are safe but shaken by the news that three people were killed and more than 170 injured after two bombs exploded near the finish line.
Steve Di Tomaso, from Pitt Meadows, B.C., finished the race about an hour before the explosions went off. He was resting in a coffee shop with his wife, Jessica, about two blocks from the finish line.
"We heard a couple of pops and sounds and honestly weren't sure what it was," Jessica said.
It was only when the couple got in a cab and listened to the radio that they realized what had happened.
"No one could quite believe that someone would do something like this, or that this would even happen at this kind of an event," she said.
But Steve said the experience will not stop him from running future marathons.
"How can you avoid something like that? If it's going to happen, it's going to happen," he said. "You can’t live in fear of something like that happening, otherwise you'll just never go out your door."
More than 2,000 Canadians were registered to participate in the Boston Marathon, but so far none has been reported injured.
'You can't live in fear'
Many running along the seawall in Stanley Park echoed Di Tomaso's sentiments on Tuesday.
Gabriel Dosantos said he still planned to participate in this weekend's Sun Run.
"Well obviously it’s risky, you don’t feel safe after what happened, but you can’t stop doing what you love," Dosantos said.
"Things happen in the world everywhere, everyday. But we don’t see things like that happen that often in Canada."
Vancouver Police say they will step up security for the 10-kilometre Sun Run, which takes place this Sunday.
"There is nothing to indicate that people should have any concerns for the Sun Run this weekend. We want people to come down and enjoy themselves and feel safe doing so," said Const. Brian Montague.
"We understand that there might be some anxious people out there, some people that might feel uneasy, so we are putting extra officers out, we will have extra eyes and ears."
Races will go on
Organizers of the Sun Run and the BMO Vancouver Marathon, which takes place on May 5 and is a qualifying event for next year's Boston Marathon, are urging runners and the public to participate.
Vancouver Sun Run spokesman Jamie Pitblado says plans for the event, which attracts about 50,000 runners each year, are too far down the road to turn back.
"The worst thing that we could do is not show up and let these people who are causing these issues take over our streets and put fear in our minds and in our hearts," said Pitblado.
"I think it's very important that we get out and show our support for our community and for each other and ultimately I guess we could show support for those who have been affected by Boston."
Pitblado said there has been a surge in last-minute registrations for the event, which has already surpassed 45,000 runners.
Charlene Krepiakevich with the Vancouver International Marathon Society says organizers will also be reviewing their emergency safety plan.
"Runners who do these events, they love to have the crowds come out and cheer them on and it would be literally impossible to try to fence 26 miles," she said. "We do have security personnel along the course, we have traffic management people and the police."
Sports events security will tighten, says expert
SFU security expert Andre Gerolymatos says Vancouver's Sun Run is relatively safe, but security at major sports events around the world will likely be ramped up in the near future.
"In the next little while, whether it's a marathon run, whether it's a hockey game, soccer game, security will have to be ratcheted up considerably, which means it will be a significant cost," he said.
"That's one of the things the terrorists like to achieve. They like to make people uncomfortable; they like to frighten people as much as possible."
Gerolymatos, who is a member of Canada's Advisory Council on National Security, says organizers of the London marathon this weekend will be under a lot of stress, but they can't cancel London's run, because it would be seen as capitulating to terrorists.