04/21/2013 11:57 EDT | Updated 06/21/2013 05:12 EDT

Vancouver Sun Run participants honour Boston victims

At this year's Vancouver Sun Run, the city of Boston were on the minds of many runners, many of whom wore its colours on their bodies.

Almost a week after two bombs were detonated near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, killing three, runners across the U.S. and Canada were striding or rolling in memory, in solidarity, and in defiance.

Showing up to run Sunday was particularly important for Susan Danard, who also ran Monday's Boston Marathon, and witnessed the attacks first-hand.

"I heard two explosions. I looked over my shoulder and saw billowing clouds of smoke and, to be honest, I think I went into denial," she said.

Danard escaped the explosions by mere minutes. She said she was lacing up her sneakers in Vancouver in tribute to the victims.

"I think it's just important to carry on and that's why I'm here," she said.

B.C. Liberal Party Leader Christy Clark took an hour off from official campaigning to run the 10-kilometre race.

"We are standing up, all of us here today, everybody at the Sun Run. We are standing up to say we will not live in fear of that kind of attack. We will not let them scare us off the streets."

The attack in Boston heightened security concerns before today's race, where police were visible all around the course, and even checked bags.

Despite those fears, police say about 48,000 people ran the 2013 Vancouver Sun Run.

In the end, the race went off as planned.

Jamie Pitblado, spokesman for the Vancouver Sun Run, said in the end the race went ahead as planned.

"Business as usual, absolutely. We did all the checks and balances with the city and police and fire earlier in the week so that when today came we were ready and it was going to be exactly what we wanted: a perfect day and a perfect run."

For American runners, including actor Sean Astin, Sunday's run in Vancouver was an especially important show of solidarity.

"You felt like you're running for the first responders and you're running for the victims and you're running for everyone who was traumautized," Astin said.

The crowd today turned those feelings into more than just emotional support. Organizers began accepting donations for the Boston One Fund, and Sun runners responded by raising close to $15,000 for the charity, which will benefit the Boston victims and their families.