VANCOUVER – The Vancouver Sun Run will donate $10 from every late entry to Sunday’s race to help victims and their families after the bombings at the Boston Marathon left three people dead and more than 170 injured.
Online registration closed midnight Tuesday for Canada’s largest 10-kilometre run, but organizers say people who want to participate can still sign up in person at BC Place beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday.
The fee for those who register late goes up by $10 to $60, but the plan is to donate that $10 from every late entry to the families, said Jamie Pitblado, vice-president of promotions and community investment for The Vancouver Sun and The Province.
He said the money would go to One Fund Boston, which is an official charity that is collecting donations for the victims and their families.
And if a surge in registration continues, organizers could raise anywhere from $25,000 to $40,000.
Registration for The Sun Run again spiked on Tuesday after doubling on Monday from the previous year. Pitblado said 965 new participants signed up Tuesday, compared with just over 500 on the same day last year. On Monday, 691 registered, compared with 343 the year previous.
As online registration closed at midnight, there were 46,048 participants.
“It was unbelievable,” said Pitblado on Wednesday. “The trend continues, the swelling of support for those in Boston.” Runners will start the race Sunday morning with an official tribute to Boston, though Pitblado said organizers are still working out the details.
Yellow and blue will colour the streets of downtown Vancouver on Sunday, as many participants don Boston’s official hues to show support for Monday’s bombing victims.
Premier Christy Clark, who is running as part of a team Sunday, plans to wear yellow and blue to honour the victims, said spokesman Sam Oliphant.
Explosive devices made from pressure cookers stuffed with nails and ball bearings killed three people and injured more than 160 people as runners were crossing the finish line Monday at the Boston Marathon.
The person or group responsible for the attack remained unknown early Wednesday, as investigators faced the daunting task of combing through thousands of videos and photographs.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, more Vancouverites returned home from Boston, with horrific tales of narrow escape and aftershock, while others like Stan and Sally Wong were still in the U.S., recovering from the ordeal.
The couple, speaking from Washington D.C. Wednesday, amid heightened security following a suspicious letter laced with poison was sent to President Barack Obama, said they were still in shock about Monday’s attack.
Sally was running at the exact location where the first bomb exploded and said if she had been running on the other side of the road, she might have been badly injured or killed in the blast.
“Something just came exploding out of my left side, and I thought it was a restaurant explosion,” she said.
When she heard the second explosion coming from where her husband Stan had been waiting on the sideline and had moments earlier high-fived her as she ran past, she began to panic. So she sprinted across the finish line and was one of the last runners they let through before they stopped everyone.
Sally was ushered through and found her bag with her cellphone. When Stan didn’t pick up the first time, Sally said she almost burst into tears.
When she finally heard his voice she was so relieved, as was Stan to know that his wife was not hit by the blast.
“I was at a complete loss and worried about my wife,” he said. “There was so much confusion. I kept thinking what are the odds of my wife running across at the exact time the bomb goes off … She was in shock but she’s really tough.”
Stan said he had been waiting for his wife to pass at the same spot where the second bomb went off, but after she ran by he moved to go meet her at the finish line. He made it about 200 yards, he said before the second bomb exploded.
“It was pandemonium. Everyone was screaming, kids were crying. I saw a woman covered in blood.”
Stan said he took video of his wife running in that area where the second bomb exploded, but he handed it over to the FBI after investigators on Tuesday made pleas for the public to share any video or photographs from the site of the terror attacks.
SFU psychology professor Rachel Fouladi was only about 600 metres from the finish line of the Boston Marathon but she was stopped when the second bomb exploded.
“In my mind I feel like I finished, even though I didn’t,” she said. “There are more important things in life like family and friends and loved ones, and although this is something I wanted to do, it wasn’t important.”
Although Fouladi won’t be in the Sun Run on Sunday because of final exams, she said she would go for a run at SFU to show support and invite students to join.