It takes longer to cross the "Start" line than the "Finish" one.

It takes longer to cross the “Start” line than the “Finish” one.

Three major long distance races took place this Sunday, just six days after the Boston Marathon bombings: Toronto (7,500 participants), London (35,000) and Vancouver (48,000).

I had the chance to participate in the biggest one of them. The Vancouver Sun Run, a 10k race that marks the unofficial beginning of the summer, at least for the West Coast. The race wasn’t shy about its Boston ties: Participants were encouraged to wear blue and yellow, the colors of Beantown; Ten dollars of every late registration went to a charity benefiting those affected by the terrorist attack. The unofficial marshal of the event was Lord of the Rings’ alum Sean Astin, -in town for a comic convention- who wanted to honor the victims of the recent bout of violence.

(Should be noted that among the runners, the lowest-rated premier in all Canada, Christy Clark, was desperately trying to score some good will looking at the provincial elections next May. Poor Sam Gamgee was used for a photo op.)

The irony of Vancouver honoring Boston just two years after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup to the Bruins (a humiliation that led to a city riot) wasn’t lost on anybody. However, the sympathy levels towards the capital of Massachusetts overshadowed any residual bitterness. I saw many Bruins jerseys along the way (none, however, of Brad Marchand).

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this year’s Sun Run was the overwhelming sense of calm. I didn’t witness any additional security measures or expressions of concern among the runners. Any hint of anxiety was gone by the first kilometer. If causing terror was the goal, the extremists failed miserably, at least in this neck of the woods.