04/15/2013 08:10 EDT | Updated 06/16/2013 05:12 EDT

Boston Explosion: Canadian Road Races Deal With Security Issues After Deadly Bombing In Boston

The tragic bombings that marred the world's most recognized marathon won't stop the Vancouver Sun Run from going ahead as scheduled on Sunday, but officials will review security ahead of Canada's largest 10-kilometre road race.

"Bottom line is, yes, the event will go ahead," said Jamie Pitblado, the vice-president of promotions and community investment with the Vancouver Sun. "We are too far down the road now to turn back.

"Cancelling the event or postponing it only lets the terrorists win and that's not what this is about."

Monday's tragedy in Boston has left Canadian race directors with the added challenge of guaranteeing safety of participants and spectators in events that routinely draw people in by the thousands. Canada will host several marathons over the next six weeks in cities including Ottawa, Calgary, Toronto, Halifax, Fredericton and London, Ont.

Two bombs exploded near the crowded finish line at the Boston Marathon on Monday, killing three and injuring more than 130 others. Authorities said two other explosive devices were found near the end of the 42.195-kilometre course.

WARNING: Some of the photos and videos from the scene may be graphic and disturbing. Story continues after slideshow

GRAPHIC WARNING: Boston Marathon explosion

The Vancouver Sun Run began in 1985 and last year more than 48,000 registrants signed up for the event.

Pitblado said the incident in Boston has forced Vancouver Sun Run officials to review security for this year's race.

"This has certainly made us revisit the plan and ensure that it is a plan that's sufficient for the size of the event and the number of people that we expect," he said. "As part of that review, we will be meeting with the city of Vancouver and the police department and the fire department (Tuesday) to go through the plan and make sure that they're comfortable with elements that are in there.

"We'll all make the evaluation if we need to do anything more to ensure the safety and security of everyone and we'll do that."

John Halvorsen, race director of Ottawa Race Weekend, May 25-26, said he was "shocked, but not surprised" by the Boston bombing.

"It's a reflection of the world we're living in today. You have to look at the nature of this particular target, it's in the United States first of all, not everyone's best friend," Halvorsen said. "And it's the largest and probably one of the most-watched marathon running events, if not one of the most-watched global sporting events.

"Running is universally big, so it's very well-recognized, it's visible. Again it's in the United States and not sure if this plays any role in someone's mind when they're trying to figure this out, but it is Patriots Day in the United States, in Boston it's a holiday, that's why the race is on this day."

Halvorsen said he'd already spoken to police officials Monday and there would be more discussions on security for the Ottawa race that will feature a field of more than 40,000 for seven different races.

"You always sort of brush it off too lightly and maybe not so lightly anymore, to say it's not going to happen, it's not likely. I think we're less likely to see it happen in Canada, but in the case of Ottawa, we're a capital," Halvorsen. "I definitely expect us to discuss this as runners who feel this hit one of our big sisters or brothers."

Race organizers for Calgary's Marathon are also being cautious.

"The Scotiabank Calgary Marathon on May 26th is just around the corner and safety and security is of paramount concern," Dan Ouimet, the chairman of the Calgary Marathon Society. "The organizing committee works closely with the City of Calgary and Calgary Police Service and will continue to work together to ensure the safety of the runners and the greater community on race day."

Rob Watson of London, Ont., was the top Canadian in Boston, finishing 11th and was eating lunch about 100 metres from the site of the first explosion. The 29-year-old lives in Vancouver and plans to cheer on his buddies in the Sun Run.

"That's a 50,000 person race," Watson said. "You have something like (the Boston Marathon), it's 42 kilometres, it's not like it's inside a building, it's not like it's an arena, it's on public streets through downtown Boston, there's hundreds of police officers on the route, there's fireman.

"But it just takes one group of just horrible horrible terrible people that decide they want to do something like this."

Alan Brookes, race director of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and the founder of the eight-race Canada Running Series, expects the running community to pull together as it has in the past.

"We thought the book had been rewritten by hurricane Sandy last autumn when they had to cancel the New York City marathon, and everybody then in the industry revised their strategies for hurricanes and natural weather disasters," Brookes said.

"We're in a best practices group with the Chicago Marathon, that includes Houston, Los Angeles Pittsburgh, Twin Cities, a number of other top races in North America. This will become a huge discussion item in the industry and I'm sure we will all pull together to do everything we possibly can to revise our safety and security manuals to make sure marathons continue to be wonderful, joyful spectacles in the world stage."

Toronto also hosts the Sporting Life 10K on May 12 and Mayor Rob Ford said he spoke Monday with Police Chief Bill Blair and City Manager Joe Pennachetti "to ensure Toronto is as well prepared as possible."

"Police report there is no immediate threat to the city but we are going to continue monitoring the situation to ensure the residents of this great city are protected and safe," Ford said. "The city manager is working with all division heads and city emergency services to ensure any upcoming public events are reassessed, (and) remain as safe and secure as possible."

In Vancouver, Pitblado admits time isn't exactly on organizers' side.

"It's not at all but we'd rather get this thing done now than have to deal with a tragedy that's unfortunately happened in Boston," he said. "We'll do what we need to do quickly in the next couple of days and bring the team and the resources together to ensure that the safety of everyone is paramount."

And, Pitblado emphasized, security for competitors and spectators alike will again be of paramount importance and whatever measures are required to achieve that will be taken.

"Absolutely, that's what is going to happen for sure," he said. "It has always been that way that our participants and the spectators who line the route, they are certainly our No. 1 priority.

"We ensure that we have the right medical plan and the right safety plan and work with the various stakeholders throughout the year every year both pre- and post-event to make sure that we're up to snuff."

However, Pitblado admitted it's a sobering reality that a historic competition like the Boston Marathon isn't immune to attack.

"It's appalling and it's shocking that we still have to deal with this type of stuff in our society today," he said.

However, Pitblado said some good from the tragedy in Boston could emerge in Vancouver.

"What we're going to start to do is think about what can we do with the event to honour those that have been injured and how do we take back the streets from these people and ensure we don't all run and hide, that we come out and show support for all of this," he said. "I know there's been a lot of stuff in social media already of people saying, 'When I get home tonight I'm going for a run for those that were impacted by this.'

"I think we'll be looking and talking about what we can do to honour those people so there might be a positive thing to talk about towards the end of the week."