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
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.
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