Travel News

Runner Detained for 2 Weeks for Crossing a Border on a Run

Written by Charlie

Recently, a runner out on a jog ended up crossing the border into the US from Canada and was stopped by the Border Patrol. After being detained for 2 weeks during document checks, she was finally released and allowed back to Canada. What we, as runners, can learn!

News about border crossings and what happens after that is certainly something that has been filling all of our news feeds lately! But, those are intentional crossings. There was a recent incident on the northern US border where a runner crossed the border accidentally and she ended up being detained for 2 weeks.

Runner Detained for 2 Weeks for Crossing a Border on a Run

The Report

It was May 21 and a French young lady by the name of Cedella was out for a run. She had been visiting her mother in British Columbia (from France and was working on her English in BC) and was running near a beach in White Rock, British Columbia.

runner detained

The area where the runner crossed into the US from Canada

She turned on to an unmarked trail and stopped for a photo. This was when she was approached by two US border patrol agents who told her she had crossed into Blaine, Washington illegally. She said that she did not see any signs indicating there was a border there and that she had crossed it.

She was not running with any ID on her and she was taken down to Tacoma, Washington to a detention facility. Her mother brought her papers which the officers said they would need to get verified by the Canadian government before they could proceed.

After 2 weeks of being detained, she was released on June 6 and allowed to return to Canada.

Thoughts on the Incident

There are quite a few stories I have heard of people being detained in countries around the world when crossing borders illegally – and the stories start with that they were running or hiking. Some countries have believed this and turned people around and others have held them for a long period of time.

My personal take is that the easiest thing all the way around would have to tell her – turn around and go back!

I really was quite surprised that it took 2 weeks to confirm that her papers were authentic. You would think in that time they could easily have figured out everything they needed to know about this young lady, even in just a couple of days. So, I do feel very badly for this young woman that she had been detained for this long (or even at all!) and for the way the whole thing played out.

Know Your Borders

Regardless of what we think of this incident, the point is true that countries have the power to detain and do detain when people cross borders. So, what do we do about that?

But, I think this can serve as a good reminder to those of us who enjoy running off the beaten path in new places – know your borders! Sometimes it may be innocent borders that no one cares about but there are other times that it can turn into something more serious.

I remember running in a country one time when I came up a beautiful area and stopped to take some photos. I immediately had 2 armed guards in front of me asking what I was doing and to show them the photos. It turns out that this area was a classified area and off limits. I had not seen a sign but  they were not going to let me hang around either! In fact, they also made me delete the photos (I didn’t even notice anything at a quick glance that stood out to me).

So, let this be a lesson to us in new places – check out your maps before you go and if you are near a border or a sensitive location, make sure you do not head that way!

If you would ever like to try this (legally), the Detroit Free Press Marathon actually crosses from the US into Canada and then back again! This is the only marathon in the US that has something unique like this.

Source: CBC News

Featured image courtesy of  Waqcku at English Wikipedia (Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.


  • What a monumental waste of taxpayers money. Whoever authorized the detention should be made to pay it back.

    As a separate matter, this is another signpost on the US’ drift towards a police state.

  • What a stupid joke. In normal countries border guards would just head over and make her aware, ask her to head back.
    My guess is these guys were of the typical US border guard ‘low IQ heavily muscled and heavily armed’ type. Probably went in with sirens blaring? I guess the poor girl should be thankful she was not tasered or shot down on the spot.
    What an incredible stupid overreaction.

    • I had read in another story that the guards had observed her over the hidden cameras which is how they knew where she was. I think they could have met her first and warned her that she was about to cross the border illegally.

  • I read elsewhere that the U.S. wanted to get a commitment from Canada that they would take this black French citizen back. That was reportedly the delay. It would have been faster if the jogger was a Canadian citizen.

  • @Derek

    Your narrative perfectly explains it. You seem to imply that there is a massive difference between (normal) French and black French citizens in US?

  • This is indicative of the United States massive arrogance that they are they best country in the world (not even close with gun violence, outrageously bad healthcare lack of depth/ history) that everyone is desperate to get in, and that they are super tough.

    Yeah tough against women running alone, mothers and kids etc

    The fact that Trump was elected at all, and that now his popularity is growing shows what a low class, low integrity, low IQ, low compassion country the US is increasingly turning into.

    • Seriously, Andy? Your use of blanket descriptions to cast the people of the US into a single classification shows ignorance on your part. Our country for sure has many things wrong with it but that is like other countries also. Do not cast everyone into one bucket – it does not reflect very well on you.

  • Yes seriously Charlie…. look around you. Or maybe you are Trumper?

    I’m not saying everyone is the same in the US. Friggin obviously.

    I’m saying you effectively allowed the biggest racist bigoted authoritarian into office. And if you ain’t resisting, you’re complicit.

    Which it sounds like you are.