Updated: All four Abbotsford runners in Boston Marathon confirmed safe

Horrific bombing leaves three people dead, but all Abbotsford and Mission participants escaped without injury.

A pair of explosions rocked the Boston Marathon around 2:45 p.m. local time Monday. Four runners from Abbotsford and two from Mission were participating in the event.



Having completed his first Boston Marathon on Monday afternoon, Ryan Prachnau was back at his hotel when his cellphone started buzzing with text messages from family members and friends concerned for his safety.

The 30-year-old Abbotsford resident turned on the TV to discover that two explosions had rocked the finish line area at 2:45 p.m.

Media reports out of Boston are indicating that three people have died – including an eight-year-old child – and more than 130 are injured, including at least 17 critically.

“We turned on the TV, and we’re just watching this thing now,” Prachnau told The News via cellphone. “It’s pretty sad to see this whole thing happen.”

Prachnau traveled to Boston with his wife Sophia for the 117th edition of the storied race. He finished in a personal best time of two hours, 38 minutes and 37 seconds, crossing the finish line at 12:38 p.m. – more than two hours before the detonations.

“I just feel very fortunate that I was able to finish earlier and was able to get out of there,” he said. “My wife was watching right where this happened (at the finish line). She was watching me at the finish, right in the same area.”

Prachnau was one of four Abbotsford runners registered for the Boston Marathon, along with Monica Murphy, Phil Davies and David Yakashiro. All four have been confirmed safe and sound.

Watching the coverage on TV was a harrowing ordeal for friends and family back home.

Trish Ratcliffe, Davies’s wife, was following his progress on the athlete tracker on the event website and saw that he’d crossed the finish line at 2:28 p.m.

“Then I got the call at work from my sister: ‘Did you hear?'” she said. “I knew he was finished, so I was very tense, but I felt fairly certain that he was OK. My educated guess was that he was OK, but then you always start to doubt.”

Davies phoned to confirm he was safe – he was picking up his bag after completing the race when he heard the blast “well behind” him.

“Because he was ahead of the pack, thankfully he didn’t see any of that (carnage),” Ratcliffe said. “It’s just a terrible, terrible thing, so senseless.”

Yakashiro, president of Sunrise Toyota in Abbotsford, was confirmed safe and sound via the business’s Twitter feed. Murphy has also checked in with loved ones in Abbotsford to let them know she’s safe.

Mission residents Colin Mclean and Chris Race also participated in the race, and both have sent word that they’re uninjured.

Mclean, a teacher at Hatzic Elementary School teacher, ran the half-marathon, and according to principal Melinda Dempster, he crossed the finish line about five minutes before the explosions. Family contacted the school to let everyone know that he was uninjured, said Dempster.

Chris Race is a District of Mission employee, and according to a text received by a co-worker, she was 400 metres from the finish line when the bombs went off. Her companion Peter Haffner is also safe, and was around the corner when the detonations occurred.

In a press conference streamed live via the web, U.S President Barack Obama vowed to find out who was behind the bombings.

“Make no mistake, we will get to the bottom of this,” said Obama. “Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups will feel the full weight of justice.”

• Friends and relatives of Canadians believed to be affected by the Boston Marathon explosions who need assistance, can contact @TravelGoC, 1-800-387-3124 or email sos@international.gc.ca.

• If you are concerned for a friend or family member who ran the Boston Marathon today, you can see their last check-in here: raceday.baa.org/individual.html.

• Google has a people finder: http://google.org/personfinder/2013-boston-explosions.

• Marathon runners who are safe and families looking for loved ones can visit the Red Cross: http://safeandwell.communityos.org/cms/index.php.

– with files from the Maple Ridge News and the Mission City Record

Ryan Prachnau, pictured above winning the Run for Water half-marathon in 2009, was one of four Abbotsford participants in the 117th running of the Boston Marathon on Monday. He, and all the other local runners, escaped injury when two bombs detonated near the finish line. (Michelle Watrin photo)

Just Posted

VIDEO: Abbotsford police arrest man suspected of using pepper-spray against another man

Police cruisers collide in pursuit of suspect fleeing on a stolen bicycle

Donor of stolen Chief Dan George sculpture frustrated at middle school

Fraser River Lodge owner baffled how nobody missed it

Voters will have their say whether Mission becomes a city

Alternative approval process should begin at the end of August

Purple fentanyl among items seized in drug bust in Abbotsford

Youth being recruited as drivers for more-established drug dealers, police say

Meet Mission’s first Grand Inner Guard

Kari Senko is only the second woman elected to the Elks of Canada, grand executive

VIDEO: Langley Ribfest met with protesters

Groups that oppose the event for various reasons plan to be on site each of the three days.

Young balance-bikers race in B.C.’s inaugural Strider Cup

The course has several obstacles including ‘Mount Scary’ and the ‘Noodle Monster’

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

‘I’m just absolutely disgusted’: Husband furious after B.C. Mountie’s killer gets day parole

Kenneth Fenton was sentenced to prison after he fatally struck Const. Sarah Beckett’s cruiser

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

PHOTOS: Weapons seized at Portland right-wing rally, counterprotests

Not all who gathered Saturday were with right-wing groups or antifa

Maple Ridge’s first retail cannabis store opens Monday

Spiritleaf is just the second private pot shop in the Fraser Valley

Most Read