04/15/2014 11:34 EDT | Updated 06/15/2014 05:59 EDT

Montrealers remember Boston Marathon bombing

Montrealer Joyce Bridgman is going back to Boston next Monday to finish the marathon that last year’s deadly bombing kept her from completing.

Bridgman was about 700 metres from the finish line when a security official stopped her and said she couldn’t continue.

“I was saying, ‘No, I’ve got a race to finish, I don’t want to stop,’ and he told me that there’s been an incident and I had to stop running,” Bridgman told CBC Radio’s Daybreak.

“In retrospect, I heard the bombs go off, but didn’t know what it was. Never in my wildest dreams would I think it was that,” she said.

The presence of helicopters, ambulances and police cars quickly clued her in to the severity of the situation taking shape by the finish line on Boylston Street, where two pressure cooker bombs killed three and injured hundreds.

“I remember looking at this woman next to me and saying, ‘This is not good, something’s wrong here,'” Bridgman recalled.

Bridgman believes she would have been close to the spot where the bombs were detonated if she hadn’t been slowed by a quick chat with friends and family along the way.

“I was probably about five to six minutes away from the finish line. I would have been on Boylston Street for sure,” she said.

'We were lucky'

Fellow Montrealer Nelson Fernandes had finished the race and was in a taxi heading back to his hotel with his family to celebrate the feat when he got the news.

Fernandes realized later that his wife and children had been standing at the very spot where the second bomb went off about 20 minutes before the device was detonated.

They hadn't seen Fernandes pass by in a crowd of runners and had stood around waiting for him until his son requested a bathroom break.

“We were lucky,” said Fernandes, who is also returning to Boston next Monday to run again.

“We’re going back to support those who weren’t lucky and prove that there’s nothing that’s going to stop us,” he said.  

“This year, we all run for Boston,” added Bridgman.