Yukoners unscathed by Boston bombing

Whitehorse runner Kelly Proudfoot was 200 metres past the Boston Marathon finish line when the bombs went off. She easily could have been closer.

Whitehorse runner Kelly Proudfoot was 200 metres past the Boston Marathon finish line when the bombs went off. She easily could have been closer.

Proudfoot was one of more than 27,000 people on Monday testing themselves against one of the most celebrated running races in the world. Yukon MP Ryan Leef and Keith Thaxter were also in the race. More than a half-million more people lined the streets for the final kilometres to cheer on the athletes surging for the finish line.

No one expected that crowd would be torn apart by twin explosions in the midst of the revelry and joy.

Four hours after the race began, two bombs exploded almost simultaneously at the finish line, killing three and injuring more than 170 others. All three Yukoners had finished before the twin explosions rocked Boylston Street. Authorities have said the bombings are being treated as an act of terrorism.

“I was not too far away, maybe 200 metres, but I didn’t know what was happening. I didn’t see anything because we were trying to leave. You go through stages and you’re basically herded like cattle. I heard explosions, but I thought it was cannons for Patriots’ Day or something,” Proudfoot said in a phone interview from Boston on Monday.

“We sprinted the last two kilometres, and I’m glad. I’m very glad. I was really sick even during the race, so really it should have been a hell of a lot slower run for me. I was running with my friend and she really pushed me. I’m so glad because I would have been … I don’t even want to think about where I would have been,” she said.

“The hardest part for me was seeing the finish line (on the news) because we were just there. Literally we were just there, and all of a sudden we see this bomb go off at this place we just were,” Proudfoot said.

Proudfoot’s boyfriend, Gordon Tentrees, was also in Boston, but not in the race. Instead, he was a few blocks from the finish line, waiting for Proudfoot to finish when he heard the blasts.

“I’m walking in the direction of the finish line and looking at it, and thinking this is where I’m supposed to be picking her up. As it went off, I was thinking, well … you know … ,” he recounted, his voice trailing off.

“You don’t even want to say it,” Tentrees said. “Two bombs just went off right in front of you. You don’t even want to think it, you know? It’s a weird thing. You’re watching a marathon and thinking I just saw a marathon with a bomb, the Boston Marathon.”

Hours after the bombings, Tentrees and Proudfoot were safely back at their bed and breakfast, but it wasn’t easy to get there.

“Immediately everyone started running. It started setting in within 10 seconds. There were thousands of people all getting over a marathon, and so much pandemonium going on with the race itself. All around us, people are yelling on cellphones and saying, ‘There’s bombs going off,’ and there are other runners saying, ‘I just need some water.’

“It was quite a strange contrast to be in. We were stuck in it. We couldn’t walk anywhere so we just went inside a pizza place and this group of eight of us from Canada just kind of sat there, because it was just panic everywhere. There were rumours flying around that there were more bombs,” Tentrees said.

The emergency response to the explosions was immediate, Tentrees said, and the city shut down. The couple ended up walking 10 kilometres back to their bed and breakfast with the sound of sirens trailing behind them.

Yukon MP Ryan Leef finished the race in three hours and 12 minutes, putting him about four blocks away when the carnage unfolded.

“It’s shocking, just unbelievable. I’m catching up more and more on the news from other people now. You can’t even define what a tragedy it is down there,” he said on Monday from Boston.

Leef said he hadn’t heard the blasts and didn’t know anything was wrong until his cellphone started ringing frantically.

“I had cleared out of the whole finishing area and my phone just started going off the hook with people from Ottawa and friends and family from the Yukon calling, asking if I was OK. I knew then that something horrible was going on,” he said.

While this kind of horror is never justified, attacking a running race that is both a celebration of community and individual struggle is incomprehensible, Leef said.

“You truly don’t run Boston, you experience it. From the start line to the finish there wasn’t one section of that road that wasn’t a thousand people out cheering. Kids, community people, front-yard barbecues, thousands and thousands of spectators cheering. To have it end in tragedy like this is just beyond comprehension,” Leef said.

On Tuesday back in the House of Commons, Leef read a motion condemning the violence and pledging Canada’s support to Boston. The motion passed unanimously.

Contact Jesse Winter at

jessew@yukon-news.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson the dog sits next to the Chariot Patrick Jackson has loaded and rigged up to walk the Dempster Highway from where it begins, off the North Klondike Highway, to the Arctic Circle. (Submitted)
Walking the Dempster

Patrick Jackson gets set for 405-kilometre journey

Liberal leader Sandy Silver speaks outside his campaign headquarters in Dawson City following early poll results on April 12. (Robin Sharp/Yukon News)
BREAKING: Minority government results will wait on tie vote in Vuntut Gwitchin

The Yukon Party and the Liberal Party currently have secured the same amount of seats

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: The Neapolitan election

Do you remember those old bricks of Neapolitan ice cream from birthday… Continue reading

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Exposure notice issued for April 3 Air North flight

Yukon Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley has issued another… Continue reading

Crystal Schick/Yukon News file
Runners in the Yukon Arctic Ultra marathon race down the Yukon River near the Marwell industrial area in Whitehorse on Feb. 3, 2019.
Cold-weather exercise hard on the lungs

Amy Kenny Special to the Yukon News It might make you feel… Continue reading

lwtters
Today’s Mailbox: Rent freezes and the youth vote

Dear Editor, I read the article regarding the recommendations by the Yukon… Continue reading

Point-in-Time homeless count planned this month

Volunteers will count those in shelters, short-term housing and without shelter in a 24-hour period.

The Yukon’s new ATIPP Act came into effect on April 1. Yukoners can submit ATIPP requests online or at the Legislative Assembly building. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News file)
New ATIPP Act in effect as of April 1

The changes promise increased government transparency

A new conservancy in northern B.C. is adjacent to Mount Edziza Provincial Park. (Courtesy BC Parks)
Ice Mountain Lands near Telegraph Creek, B.C., granted conservancy protection

The conservancy is the first step in a multi-year Tahltan Stewardship Initiative

Yukon RCMP reported a child pornography-related arrest on April 1. (Phil McLachlan/Black Press file)
Whitehorse man arrested on child pornography charges

The 43-year-old was charged with possession of child pornography and making child pornography

Team Yukon athletes wave flags at the 2012 Arctic Winter Games opening ceremony in Whitehorse. The postponed 2022 event in Wood Buffalo, Alta., has been rescheduled for Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023. (Justin Kennedy/Yukon News file)
New dates set for Arctic Winter Games

Wood Buffalo, Alta. will host event Jan. 29 to Feb. 4, 2023

Victoria Gold Corp. has contributed $1 million to the First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun after six months of production at the Eagle Gold Mine. (Submitted/Victoria Gold Corp.)
Victoria Gold contributes $1 million to First Nation of Na-cho Nyak Dun

Victoria Gold signed a Comprehensive Cooperation and Benefits Agreement in 2011

Most Read