'Suspicious device' along route delayed start of Vancouver marathon, police say

Vancouver police say a suspicious device that they believe was "strategically placed" to disrupt the BMO Vancouver Marathon Sunday morning has been "rendered inert."

The start of competition at the BMO Vancouver Marathon was delayed by about an hour due to what the Vancouver Police Department initially described as a "police incident."

In a statement issued in the afternoon, the VPD explained that explosives experts had dealt with a suspicious device, which was found along the marathon route near Science World.

“This is extremely concerning, and it appears the device was strategically placed along the half marathon route, where runners would be passing close by,” said VPD spokesperson Sgt. Steve Addison, in the statement.

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

The VPD said the device was spotted shortly after 5 a.m. by a marathon volunteer, who called 911.

Police cordoned off the area and called in bomb technicians to examine and destory 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," police said in their statement.

The VPD tweeted shortly after 7 a.m. that the start of the event had been delayed by a police incident near the route.

About an hour later, police said the incident had been "safely resolved," and the marathon began.

According to the race schedule, the full marathon was not scheduled to begin until 8:30 a.m. The half marathon was scheduled to begin at 7 a.m., and was the first event affected by the police incident.

Police said their investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made.

Race participants were advised of the delay as it was ongoing, but were told only that it was caused by a "police incident."

For some of the 18,500 participants waiting to begin the race, the association of "police incident" and "marathon" naturally brought to mind the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

That attack, which involved pressure-cooker bombs placed near the race's finish line, killed three people and injured more than 200.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated the death sentence for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who was convicted in 2015 of more than 30 charges related to the bombing. 

#VanTraffic The start of @BMOVanMarathon is delayed due to a police incident near the route. #VPD is responding and will provide updates here when available. We thank everyone for their patience.

— Vancouver Police (@VancouverPD) May 1, 2022