Police say suspicious device caused 1-hour delay to start of Vancouver marathon

Police in Vancouver say an investigation into a suspicious device placed near the course of the city’s annual marathon delayed its start by an hour and was placed to “cause panic or to disrupt the event,” according to a release.

A volunteer with the BMO Vancouver Marathon, which features a half-marathon distance as well, alerted police to the device around 5 a.m. PT Sunday near Science World and promptly called 911, according to a release from the Vancouver Police Department.

Officers cordoned off the area and bomb technicians from the force were deployed to examine and destroy the device.

“The Emergency Response Team determined the device was not at risk of exploding and did not pose an immediate danger to the public, however the race start had to be delayed while the device was rendered inert,” said the release.

Police did not describe what the device looked like.

‘Not at risk of exploding’

Sgt. Steve Addision said that it appears the device was “strategically” placed along the half-marathon route where runners would pass by.

 “Whoever did this was likely aiming to cause panic or to disrupt the event,” he said.

Investigators from VPD’s Major Crime Section, Forensic Identification Unit, and Operations Division are now collecting additional evidence.

No arrests have been made.

The event’s half-marathon distance was supposed to have started at 7 a.m., with the marathon going at 8:30 a.m.

Sunday’s race marked the 50th anniversary of the event and a return to in-person racing after it was cancelled in 2020 and went virtual in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Marathon organizers warned that the reopening of traffic at the end of the race could also be delayed by the early police incident.

In 2019, a record18,000 runners participated in either the full marathon, half marathon or an eight-kilometre run at the event.

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