Canadians returning home from carnage

Canadian runners returning home from the Boston Marathon the day after two deadly explosions ripped apart the finish line say the attack turned what should have been a special accomplishment into an unforgettable tragedy.

TORONTO — Canadian runners returning home from the Boston Marathon the day after two deadly explosions ripped apart the finish line say the attack turned what should have been a special accomplishment into an unforgettable tragedy.

Ramona Gellel ran the race with her friend and was one of several marathon runners on the first flight from Boston to Toronto’s downtown airport Tuesday morning.

She had finished the race when she heard about the blasts and immediately thought of her friend, who was about one kilometre from the finish line when the blasts went off.

Gellel, who’s from Pickering, Ont., was relieved to find out her friend was not hurt, and gave her the race medal she had just won.

“We were looking forward to celebrating. It puts a damper on things but we’re just glad everyone we were with is safe,” she said.

Runner Carey Levinton, who was on the same flight, said Boston was in a glum mood the morning after the blasts.

“It’s somewhat sombre… the city just embraces this event and to have it suddenly turn so tragic was just so sad,” he said.

More than a dozen Canadian runners who were on the Tuesday morning flight — some still wearing their blue-and-golden marathon jackets — said the tragic event has not scared them off from joining the Boston race again.

“I hope to run it again next year,” said Gellel’s friend, Patty Demarco.

More than 2,000 Canadians were registered for the storied race, but the federal government said late Monday it had no reports of any Canadians among the three people killed and more than 170 hurt.

Foreign Affairs officials said they would continue to check with their counterparts south of the border to confirm that no Canadians were directly caught in the blasts.

Other Canadians who witnessed the carnage swapped stories of survival in an effort to cope with the shock.

Rob Campbell, who was among a group of Canadian runners who finished the marathon an hour before the explosions, said he met an Oklahoma man who ran right through the chaos.

“He just kept going, went to the centre of the road and finished the race because he thought there might be bombs going off on the right side of the road also,” he said. “He had a pretty fascinating story.”

Campbell said local residents were enraged by what happened.

“They’re taking this thing really serious,” he said. “They’re not expecting this sort of thing to happen.”

Campbell said he was planning to drive back home to Toronto with a friend on Tuesday and was bracing for major delays on the roads.

“I would expect the troopers are probably going to choke down the traffic,” he said. “I suspect they’re going to investigate every car leaving Boston at this stage.”

U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday the bombings were an act of terrorism but investigators do not know if they were carried out by an international or domestic organization, or perhaps by a “malevolent individual.”

Police in some major U.S. cities were monitoring landmarks, government buildings, transit hubs and sporting events.

At the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, where thousands cross the border from Ontario to Michigan daily, Tunnel President Neal Belitsky says that “all staff are sensitive to the incident in Boston.”

While security measures aren’t being discussed, officials say they’re closely following events.

Just Posted

Alberta has made a more detailed framework for those looking to acquire an exemption to the mandatory indoor mask bylaw. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)
Alberta changes requirements for mask exemptions

Masks wearing has been recommended for almost a year and provincially mandated… Continue reading

Alberta’a chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said Thursday that there are more than 328,000 vaccine appointments booked over the next seven days. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Alberta surpasses 2 million doses administered of COVID-19 vaccine

Red Deer down to 835 active cases of COVID-19

RCMP file photo (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)
RCMP investigating shooting near Maskwacis

Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin RCMP are seeking public assistance after a shooting has… Continue reading

Rode
Smith among impressive group of RDC soccer Queens recruits

There have been a number of cases where younger girls have developed… Continue reading

Red Deer Public Schools is projecting a $4-million budget deficit for 2021-22 school year. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
Red Deer Public Schools prepares $124-million budget

$1 million COVID recovery plan to assist students

Bo’s Bar and Grill owner Brennen Wowk said the hospitality industry is looking for more clarity from the province around what conditions must be met to allow for restaurants reopening. (Advocate file photo)
Frustated restaurant owners want to know government’s reopening plan

Restaurant owners feel they are in lockdown limbo

Vancouver Canucks' Nils Hoglander, right, is checked by Calgary Flames goalie Jacob Markstrom during third-period NHL hockey action in Calgary, Thursday, May 13, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Lindholm, Tkachuk lead Calgary Flames in 4-1 win over Vancouver Canucks

Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine, right, drives to the basket against Toronto Raptors center Khem Birch, left, and guard Jalen Harris during the first half of an NBA basketball game in Chicago, Thursday, May 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)
LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

LaVine, Markkanen lead Bulls past Raptors, 114-102

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

NFL schedules get off to strong starts with Week 1 twinbills

The Saddledome, home of the Calgary Flames, is shown in Calgary, Thursday, March 12, 2020. The final three games of Canada's Secret Cup women's hockey tournament will be played in Calgary's NHL arena.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

Secret Cup women’s tournament final games to be held in Calgary’s Saddledome

FILE - In this Thursday, July 18, 2019 file photo, Ron Francis talks to reporters in Seattle after he was introduced as the first general manager for Seattle's yet-to-be-named NHL hockey expansion team. Four years since George McPhee was a “puppet master” of the NHL leading up to the Vegas expansion draft, general managers approached this trade deadline with Seattle’s upcoming addition to the league in mind. While Kraken GM Ron Francis prepares – and maybe made a handshake deal or two already like McPhee did – Seattle was on his colleagues’ minds.(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)
Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Kraken still plan to hire coach before expansion draft

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney attends a news conference in Calgary on Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020. Simmering internal discontent in his United Conservative caucus has boiled over into an open challenge to his leadership. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Two Alberta UCP members kicked out of caucus after challenging Kenney’s leadership

Toronto Blue Jays' Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (13) celebrates in the outfield at the end of a baseball game against the Atlanta Braves Thursday, May 13, 2021, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

Bichette, Blue Jays rally again to beat Braves 8-4

FILE - Jordan Spieth waits his turn to putt during the third round of the Valero Texas Open golf tournament in San Antonio, in this Saturday, April 3, 2021, file photo. Spieth will try to complete the career Grand Slam next week at the PGA Championship. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas, File)
Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Momentum for McIlroy, few others going into PGA Championship

Most Read