Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadians Returning to Boston Marathon One Year after Deadly Bombings

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadians Returning to Boston Marathon One Year after Deadly Bombings

Article excerpt

Canadians returning to Boston Marathon

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Jean-Paul Bedard clearly remembers the ear-piercing blasts, the ominous plumes of smoke and the total pandemonium that erupted moments after two bombs went off at last year's Boston Marathon.

The enormity of the situation only hit home days later though, when the 47-year-old was back in Toronto looking at a video his wife had taken of him crossing the finish line -- there, in a short clip, appeared to be one of the backpacks authorities believe contained explosives which ripped through the crowd.

"She was just standing there in harm's way that whole time," he said of the footage the couple later sent to the FBI. "I was a bit late, an hour later than I normally am and if I had been an extra 20 minutes, she would have been right there."

The realization triggered an avalanche of emotions and Bedard, an avid runner, initially vowed never to return to the Boston Marathon again.

Yet, like many other Canadians, the English teacher is now heading back to the city and plans to run the course again next week. Bedard, however, plans to run the marathon not once, but twice in the same day.

"I needed to go back there," Bedard said, adding he had secured permission from race authorities to run a double marathon.

The twin blasts which killed three people and injured more than 260 others on April 15 last year came to symbolize a turning point in Bedard's life.

Just weeks before last year's race, Bedard told his family about sexual abuse he suffered as a child. During the marathon, he had a breakdown and was stopped by medics but managed to convince them he was hurting mentally, not physically, and carried on.

He finished the race, returned to his hotel room for a quick shower and was back outside with his wife, 100 metres away from the finish line on a parallel street when the bombs went off.

When he returned home, the combined stress of his personal issues and the bombings led to Bedard being diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. After a year of treatment, he's returning to confront the trauma and move past it.

"I feel a lot of weight on my shoulders in doing this," he said. …

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