Sask. runners shocked over Boston Marathon explosions

A Saskatoon man finished the Boston Marathon just a few minutes before explosions rocked the area.

'We were in between two bombs': Brad Berrns, in Boston to watch son in marathon

Medical workers aid injured people at the Boston Marathon following an explosion. (David L. Ryan/The Assciated Press/The Boston Globe)

Saskatoon runner Nicholas Berrns was just minutes away from the area of the Boston Marathon where two explosions took place Monday.

"I just can't believe something like this could happen," Berrns told CBC News from Boston shortly after chaos broke out on the marathon route.

"We were standing within feet of where it was," Brad Berrns, Nicholas' father, added. He said his family had just finished watching Nicholas finish the race and had left the area when he learned of the explosions.

"We were in between the two bombs," he said, noting they were just seconds apart. "There's going to be a lot of injured people."

Berrns said many people, including himself, were still shaking over the shock of what happened.

"My son ran through that very spot where the explosion went off," he said.

Nicholas, 24, said he is still pondering what would have happened if he would have finished his race a few minutes later than he did. He recalled he was flagging near the finish line and would have taken longer but for the encouragement of a stranger.

"I'm just in shock because if I would have stopped, what could have happened?" he said. "My heart goes out to what is going on out there."

Regina runners heard explosions

Regina runner Basil Pappas was about one block away from the area where the explosions took place, heading away from the event in a cab.

"I heard the two explosions and the cab driver and I were trying to figure out what was going on," Pappas told CBC Radio host Craig Lederhouse of The Afternoon Edition Monday. "They were extremely loud."

Saskatchewan runners who were in the Boston Marathon:

  • Nicholas Berrns, of Saskatoon, finished the race and is safe.
  • Gerry Nagy and Diana Nagy, of Weyburn, finished the race and are safe.
  • Basil Pappas, of Regina, finished the race and is safe.
  • Dave Fox and Loni Fox, of Moose Jaw, are OK.
  • Lisa Schwann, of Regina, is OK.
  • Cari Markewich, of Regina, is fine.
  • Angela Stolz, of Regina, was not hurt.
  • Brian Ronn, of Saskatoon, is safe. He finished the race before the explosions.
  • Graham Harvey, from Assiniboia, finished the race about 15 minutes before the explosions and is safe.
  • Paul Duperreault, from Wilcox, finished the race and is safe.
  • Tom Maher, of Regina, finished the race and is OK.
  • Robert St. Amant, from Meota, finished the race before the explosions and is safe.

CBC News was also able to confirm that six other people from Saskatchewan registered for the race but did not travel to Boston.

Gerry Nagy was also in Boston for the marathon. He said he and his wife Diana were not hurt but were still shaken by what happened.

He had finished the race and was not near the finish line when the explosions took place, but was close enough to hear them.

"They were loud," he said, adding he was concerned that his wife, who had finished too, may have been in the area during the explosions.

In time, Diana showed up back at the place they were staying.

Diana Nagy said she had finished the race and was picking up her things to leave the area when the explosions hit.

She said the area that was affected was quickly blocked off from access.

"I wasn't very far away and all of a sudden you couldn't get anywhere," she said.

She said it was difficult to stay calm.

"It was emotional," she said. "It's very surreal, for sure. You just don't really believe it."

A special phone line has been set up for Canadians needing info on the Boston Marathon Explosion, 1-800-387-3124.

Kirsten-Ellen Fleming, originally from Regina, was watching the race near the finish line and then headed into a restaurant on the corner of Boylston and Newbury streets.

"We were coming out of the restaurant and there were two big explosions and a bunch of smoke ... It was just immediate chaos and mayhem and confusion," she said. "Everyone was just in utter shock and looking around."

Brad Berrns added that he cannot understand why anyone would target the Boston Marathon.

"I just really question the motivation [and] what people have in their mind to do something as ridiculous as this, at such a positive event," he said. "I don't know what sort of point would be made by this, other than it just devastates people."

With files from CBC's Kiran Dhillon