ArriveCAN requirement for Detroit Free Press marathon raises confusion with runners

·2 min read
Runners make their way along Riverside Drive in Windsor, Ontario during  the 39th Annual Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon in Detroit Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016. For this year's run, participants will be required to fill out the ArriveCAN app before entering Canada.   (Regina H. Boone/Detroit Free Press - image credit)
Runners make their way along Riverside Drive in Windsor, Ontario during the 39th Annual Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon in Detroit Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016. For this year's run, participants will be required to fill out the ArriveCAN app before entering Canada. (Regina H. Boone/Detroit Free Press - image credit)

When Michigan resident Jacqueline Brown got email from the Detroit Free Press Marathon telling her she would have to fill out the ArriveCAN app before crossing the border during the half marathon, she said she initially panicked.

In an email to CBC News Wednesday, the Detroit Free Press Marathon said it was informed by the Canadian government that all international race participants would need to use the ArriveCAN app when taking part in the mid-October race events.

The email noted that filling out the app was "mandatory" and that failure to not fill out the app "could result in being prohibited from entering Canada."

Participants need to fill out the app within 72 hours of crossing into Canada, so they can submit it before starting the run, the Detroit Free Press Marathon said.

"When I saw the email and it said ArriveCAN on it, I didn't know what it was, I never heard of it before," said Brown, who has run the marathon a few times.

"I immediately thought you know, I have global entry, do I got to pay money and sign up for another one of these things? And there isn't a whole lot of time for me to get security clearance."

Once she realized what it was, Brown said it was "minor" and wouldn't stop her from running.

In the Facebook group, Detroit Free Press Marathon Runners, the news that ArriveCAN would be a requirement had some worried and looking for alternatives.

One person, who said they are Canadian, posted in the group asking for clarification on the app and another post had dozens of people in the comments trying to figure out how to sign in.

Aaron Velthoven, vice president and executive producer of the Detroit Free Press Marathon, told CBC News that since they made the announcement they've seen a handful of complaints and concerns come in, but not a significant amount.

He said they've been working with the border agencies since registration opened to ensure that rules would be followed.

"This is really just another step for crossing an international border, which again is a privilege it isn't a right for us," he said, adding that if participants have a question they can head to the marathon's website for more information on filling out the app.

"We're excited to be back to international after a two year hiatus and there's a lot of excitement and energy in the running community."

Velthoven said runners need to make sure they create a profile and then submit an ArriveCAN app form.

The Detroit Free Press Marathon also offers a U.S.-only option for the half marathon, so runners can choose not to cross into Canada and they also don't have to be vaccinated for that event.

The events are taking place from Oct. 14 to Oct. 16 in Detroit.