Runner kicked by dog owner after incident during Blue Nose Marathon
Published Wednesday, June 12, 2019 10:42PM ADT
Halifax Regional Police are investigating an assault reported during Sunday's Blue Nose Marathon.
Police say one of the marathon runners was kicked in the stomach during an altercation with a bystander while the race was on.
The executive director of the Blue Nose Marathon says it all started when the runner came across a dog on the portion of the course through Point Pleasant Park.
“They were starting to climb up Serpentine, had their head down, the dog was in the middle of the trail and off leash, and the participant tripped over it,” said Sherri Robbins, the executive director of the Blue Nose Marathon.
According to the report made to race organizers, the owners of the dog got angry, and started cursing at the runner.
Robbins says her understanding is the dog was fine, and the runner continued on.
Blue Nose Marathon organizers say it was after the participant left Point Pleasant Park that the alleged assault occurred. They say the owners of the dog got into their vehicle, and followed the race route to catch up with the runner in the last five kilometres of the route.
“A gentleman did come out and attack that participant, kick that participant, so we had a cyclist that happened to be with the participant, very fortunately, and two other bystanders were able to intervene,” Robbins said.
Robbins says the runner is OK and was able finish the 42.2-kilometre marathon.
The incident was reported to police and is being investigated.
“We're asking the public if they were witness to this, or they have information that they can provide in this incident, that they come forward and provide that information so it can help with our investigations,” said Halifax Regional Police spokesman Const. John MacLeod.
The incident has shocked members of Halifax's running community.
They say run-ins with dogs are common -- especially in Point Pleasant Park -- but something like this is an even bigger concern.
“If that would have happened to me, I’m not sure how I would have reacted myself,” said runner Michael Bergeron.“Sometimes, you start to be really tired, you have low energy, so when you get an attack on you, nobody knows how you're doing to react.”
Robbins said it was an “unfortunate” situation for the runner, but she was glad that in the end he is OK.
CTV News reached out to the runner involved, but he declined an interview, saying he's consulting with a lawyer on his next steps.
The Blue Nose Marathon has run its race through Point Pleasant Park since it began 16 years ago and usually before the marathon starts they do some public education to let people know that marathon runners will be crossing through the park. The organizers say they never anticipated something like this would ever happen.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Heidi Petracek.