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Bomb scare delays BMO Vancouver Marathon after volunteer finds suspicious device

The race started one hour late.

Sunday's popular BMO Vancouver Marathon was delayed after a volunteer found a suspicious device along the route.

Vancouver Police say the device was discovered just before 5 a.m. and the volunteer quickly called police.

Sgt. Steve Addison says it appears the device was placed on purpose.

“This is extremely concerning, and it appears the device was strategically placed along the half-marathon route, where runners would be passing close by,” he says. “Whoever did this was likely aiming to cause panic or to disrupt the event.”

Vancouver Police posted a tweet at 7:14 a.m., saying the start of the BMO Vancouver Marathon was delayed due to a police incident near the route.

“Vancouver Police is responding and will provide updates here when available. We thank everyone for their patience,” reads the tweet.

Many people took to social media, trying to figure out why the race hadn’t started.

“Do we know anything about the nature of the incident, or where it is? Plenty of very cold runners out here, in record numbers,” says Andrew Dilts.

This Sunday, May 1, marks the 50th anniversary of the race and brings together over 18,000 participants for the marathon, half marathon, and 8 km run. There are numerous road closures in effect for the race.

The Emergency Response Team’s bomb technicians were called in to examine and destroy the device. They determined the device “was not at risk of exploding” and didn’t pose an immediate threat.

A large area along Quebec Street, near Science World, was cordoned off before the race started and there was a heavy police presence. Once officers cleared this scene at about 8:20 a.m., the race started.

Vancouver Police say the device was inert.

The investigation is ongoing.

Editor's note: This story was updated on May 2.

With files from Brendan Kergin

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