Team Awesome is a group of 22 runners who are taking part in the 2015 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and who will be sharing their personal journeys on blogs and social media. They’ll also be cheerleaders for all of the other runners participating in our races.
Kristen Bobbitt, Waterville, Quebec, Half Marathon
Kristen loves the outdoors and is most comfortable surrounded by nature. She is a runner, hiker, hunter and motorcyclist. She is married and has two little boys aged 2 and 4 years old who are her constant companions. Kristen started running in 2013 and went from a couch potato to a half-marathoner in 7 months. In 2014 she ran her first marathon.
Kristen’s main goal is to promote fitness for the whole family and she is thrilled to be taking part in an event like the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend that encourages children to be active. The Kids Marathon is such a wonderful idea! Her children are already avid hikers and will be encouraged to take up running as they get older. It is her dream to complete running races as a family.
She is very excited to be a part of the 2015 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend – Team Awesome! Kristen is a resident of Quebec and has never had the opportunity to run in Ottawa before. It will be amazing to experience Canada’s capital on foot along with thousands of other runners who will be enjoying the sport they all love. She is pumped to get to know the other Team Awesome members and promote this incredible event.
Kristen is active online as Country Fit Family.
Facebook: Country Fit Family
Pinterest: Country Fit Family
Finlay Boyce, Ottawa, Kids Marathon
Finlay Boyce is a 10 year old that not only loves his Skylander and Pokemon games, but also his friends and sports that they can do together. Whether it’s tennis, soccer, surfing or downhill skiing – Finlay is there with bells on!
Running is a family activity for Finlay. He has done some races with his Mom and Dad, but now really looks forward to the running he can do with friends – especially his buddy Euan.
Finlay is looking forward to the Kids Marathon and reporting on it for other kids. Not only will it mean he spends time with his friends, it means he may make some new ones too!
Andrew Chak, Toronto, Half Marathon
When Andrew first started running, he was afraid to run outside. When he was at home on his treadmill, Andrew could always just step off and be done with his run. Running outside meant going out for a distance and, more importantly, having to come back. For someone worried about making it to the next stop sign, running outside was a big deal.
Nowadays, you can’t keep Andrew indoors. He loves running out on open roads and trails and has progressed from 10k’s, to half-marathons, all the way to the “I would never do it” full-marathons. This past year, Andrew ran the Ottawa Marathon for the first-time and he quickly dubbed it as the “Ottawa Cheerathon” given the roar of spectators that lined the course. Andrew is thrilled to be returning back to Ottawa where he knows that there is a race distance for everyone in his family and that they’ll all get cheered on towards a strong finish.
One of Andrew’s greatest passions as a runner is connecting with other runners. You can follow Andrew on Twitter at @andrewchak where he’ll be sure to cheer your every run – especially the ones that you didn’t want to do. Andrew also writes the “Obsessive Runner” blog on iRun.ca where he’ll gladly overshare the mental anguish and joy of his running exploits.
Blog: Andrew Chak
Euan Coulson, Ottawa, Kids Marathon
Euan Coulson has a love of Minecraft and video games, and loves to get together and play with friends. However, he has built his strongest friendships on the downhill ski racing team and on the basketball court with his teammates.
While he may not know it, Euan started running nine years ago in the womb – he even took part in a few races in utero! This progressed to various baby joggers, but from the moment he tied up his running shoes – he hasn’t stopped!
Euan started running as part of an organized team at school through the cross-country team. His love of the sport has led to better health and a love of the outdoors. He especially loves running with his buddy Finlay.
Euan is thrilled to be a part of Team Awesome and representing the team in the Kids Marathon. He hopes other kids will look forward to the Kids Marathon too!
Melanie Coulson, Ottawa, 10K
A busy working mom to two boys, Melanie Coulson hits the streets to reduce stress, keep fit, battle the bulge, but mostly to have some ‘me time.’ Sometimes this means running at 5 a.m., but it’s always worth getting out the door.
Melanie wasn’t always a runner – she quit gym in high school after the first year, and by university weighed more than she did decades later during either of her pregnancy. When a friend introduced her to a walk/run program, she was hooked.
While Melanie has run a few marathons (pre-kids) and about a dozen half marathons (since kids), she’s keen to tackle the 10k race at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend as a Team Awesome member! She feels that it’s not about winning a trophy; it’s the sense of strength you can get from completing the race.
A former journalist, current communications professional and avid blogger, Melanie is keen to share her training tips, advice on life balance, the importance of running with a good friend and anything else that can – and will – pop up as she heads to the start line.
The hardest step is the first one. She’s hoping you’ll feel inspired to set a health goal for yourself in 2015, and take this journey with her.
Roch Courcy, Gatineau, 10K
Roch Courcy is the new kid on the block. His first race was the 2014 Ottawa 10k. Since then, he has developed a passion for running and has participated in four other races. Roch is also passionate about social media. He works in that field for the City of Gatineau. He likes to share his running experience on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even RunKeeper.
He moved to the Gatineau/Ottawa area more than a year and a half ago and he loves to discover the region with both feet on the ground.
Facebook: Roch Courcy
RunKeeper: Roch Courcy
David Dazé, Ottawa, Marathon / Kids Marathon Coach
David Dazé is a school teacher and 22-time marathoner who will be running his 15th consecutive Ottawa marathon on race day.
Since running his first marathon in 2001 he has also run marathons in Boston, New York, and Chicago.
David is a strong supporter of the annual Canada Army Run in Ottawa, having run the half-marathon event each September. One of his favourite places to run is along the Rideau Canal, which is great preparation for the home stretch at Ottawa.
For the last seven years David has also enjoyed coaching many young runners at his school in preparation for the Ottawa Kids Marathon.
David enjoys sharing his love of running with others including his two teenage daughters who have joined him for several 5k races and one 10k race around town.
He is looking forward to connecting with other runners.
Jason Faber, Ottawa, Half Marathon
Jason fell in love with running after completing his first half marathon in the fall of 2012. Mere hours after finishing the race, he signed up for the Ottawa Marathon in 2013, which he completed in just over 3 and a half hours. With some experience now under his belt, Jason then set his sights on qualifying for the Boston Marathon. After training tirelessly throughout the winter, Jason narrowly missed his goal by only a few seconds at the Ottawa Marathon in 2014 with a time of 3:05:07,
With advice from his Le Team Du Rob mentor, Rob Watson, Jason decided to take another shot at qualifying for Boston by setting his sights on running a sub three-hour marathon at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October 2014. With the necessary tweaks and adjustments to his training program, Jason successfully completed the race in Toronto in under 3 hours, with a time of 2:59:17, a time that should be good enough to get him into Boston for 2016. Until then, Jason plans to continue to run half marathons, and hopes to run a personal best in Ottawa in 2015. He also plans on training for his first triathlon in the summer of 2015.
Blog: 42 kilometres
David Freake, St. John’s, 10K
Lisa Georges, Ottawa, Half Marathon
Former Publisher and founding Creative Director of iRun and Hintonburg Centennial 5K Race Director, Lisa Georges has been at the finish line of many Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend events, but she’s only ever run one: the 2k with her three boys. This will change in 2015, as she takes on the Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon with a goal time of under 2:00. (Current PB: 2:15:26, 2013).
Staying fit is always a challenge for a single mom with a full-time job and three growing boys in various activities, but Lisa will share her tips and tricks on how to squeeze it all in and be an active role model for the important little people in her life.
Patrick Girard, Ottawa, Marathon
Patrick is a runner and parent of two young daughters trying to balance work, family and his quest to qualify for the Boston Marathon.
Patrick has been running since 2006 when his wife encouraged him to train for the Ottawa Race Weekend 5k. This year will be his 7th consecutive year running the Ottawa Marathon.
Patrick thinks Ottawa is a great place to run because of the endless trails and historical sites we have around the city. On weekends you will often find him pushing a Chariot stroller around Ottawa as he takes one of his daughters along for his training run.
Patrick is excited to be a part of Team Awesome as part of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. He is convinced that we here in Ottawa have one of the best race weekends in North America!
Facebook: The Courage of Lungs
Blog: The Courage of Lungs
James Koole, Toronto, Marathon
James Koole is an avid runner living in Toronto with his wife (and marathoner) Ginny, and their two girls, Mackenzie (12) and Lindsey (10).
He’s been hooked on running since 2008 when he ran his first race, the Sporting Life 10k. From there things escalated quickly with a pair of half marathons in the fall, a 30k race in the summer of 2009, and then the Ottawa Marathon in 2010.
Since then James has run over 10,000km training for numerous 10k’s, a bunch of half marathons, six more marathons, and two 50km ultra marathons.
Returning to Ottawa for the 2015 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon will be a homecoming of sorts and a return to where his marathon journey began back in 2010.
James is really excited to be a part of Team Awesome and to have the opportunity to share his training journey over the next months leading up to race day. Through Team Awesome, James aims to provide inspiration and encouragement to the many strong and awesome runners who will come to race in Ottawa this May.
Running blog: Runner James
Valérie Langlois, Montréal, Half Marathon
Valérie has not always been sports minded. Hard core sedentary and a junk food addict for many years, she nonetheless decided to take things in her hands at age 25. Nearly a year and a half later, she ran her first 5k race at a smaller event. Wanting to push farther and take on greater challenges, she decided to take on the 10k distance, which would help her discover the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.
The festive atmosphere, the exceptional course, and the well-felt cheering of the residents enticed her to make it a tradition. Since then Valérie has had a good journey, crossing the finish line of many other races, including half marathons. Ottawa remains her first choice in her inventory of better races and that is why she has joined the ranks of Team Awesome to take part in a now sacred sports event.
Luc Lévesque, Gatineau, Marathon
Physical activity has always been a part of Luc Lévesque’s life. However, in 2007, he caught the run bug, which has since become an obsession. He has registered himself for the Ottawa Marathon every year since 2009. Unfortunately, he has not always been able to participate due to injuries or illness.
Luc has a love/hate relationship with the Ottawa Marathon. Love because this marathon takes place close to his home, and there is an incredible atmosphere all along its course, the city vibrates to the sound of the runners’ steps and the course offered is remarkable. Hate because it is a spring marathon. This implies numerous long outings in the snow and cold leading up to the day of the marathon where you sometimes have to run in the hot sun with little time to acclimatise. Nonetheless, he has taken up the challenge every year.
Luc is happy to be part of Team Awesome to encourage others and to be encouraged. It is not always easy to find people with the same schedules, the same training needs, the same pace to follow, and who live close by. With social media, it is possible to share training and spirits, and to be understood. On that note, happy training for the fastest marathon in Canada.
Facebook: Luc Lévesque
Blogue: Training for Boston
Sylvie Mallard, Montréal, Half Marathon
Sylvie Mallard has been an avid runner since her early youth but has been running more seriously for the last 10 years. She has run all the classic distances as well as a six-hour ultra marathon in the dead of winter! Her first 10K was run in Ottawa in 2006 and she has fond memories of it.
Sylvie has a story to finish with Ottawa’s Half Marathon. In 2007, she had raised funds as part of her training for the Half Marathon but was not able to run because of an injury. One of her donors ended up running in her stead. After that missed appointment, from 2007 to 2010, Sylvie ran three marathons and became a mother between the second and third marathons. Then, physical and personal injuries affected her life between 2010 and 2014 and reduced her pace and capacity for long runs. She hopes to come back in full strength in 2015 and to run the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon with Team Awesome, a perfect opportunity for her.
Sylvie has launched into this adventure with Team Awesome to get a chance to get back into training with more determination, more passion and intent, and, very modestly, inspire others along the way.
Blogue: Maman marathon
Abby McGill, New York City, Half Marathon
Abby McGill started running in 2009 and hasn’t stopped since! She runs to clear her head, for the joy of running and to keep reaching new goals. Abby has run one marathon, several half marathons and dozens of shorter distance races! Abby was training to run the Ottawa Marathon in 2014 but a family emergency and leg issue kept her from getting to the starting line, so she’s even more excited to run the half this year! The city of Ottawa seems to be the best kept secret to Americans so Abby is honored to join Team Awesome to spread her enthusiasm for the city and race! She is already counting down the days until she toes the line in May!
Facebook: Abby Fennessy McGill
Blog: NYC Running Girl
André Mollema, Aylmer, Marathon
André is an avid runner.
When he was eight years old, his father invited him to run 2 km in the Demi-marathon des Outaouais, the first race of his life. He was very surprised to realise, a few minutes after leaving the gate, that they had already completed the distance… It is at that moment that he caught the running bug and wanted to do more.
Now, more than 25 years later, André has completed numerous runs of varying distances in various cities : 5k’s, 10k’s, a few half marathons and more recently, his first marathon.
The 42.2 km of the Ottawa Race Weekend was a personal accomplishment for him and he just loved the experience. According to André, ʺThe overcharged atmosphere of the crowd – which is everywhere – literally transports you to the finish line. In other words, the energy in the air simply gives you what you need to complete those last few steps!ʺ
André will certainly make Team Awesome proud! “We have so much to win by running; it is good for your health and healthy for the mind – we must promote it as well as possible!” Himself a paramedic with the City of Ottawa, who would be in a better position to promote health and well-being through this wonderful sport?
Photo credit: Ottawa Citizen
Noel Paine, Gatineau, 10K
Noel Paine calls the Ottawa area home and lives across the river in Gatineau, Quebec. The Ottawa marathon is his hometown race. He says it is not only one of the biggest and highest caliber races but also one that has a friendly, Canadian feel. “I feel lucky every chance I get to join others on race weekend.”
Noel has been running for over 27 years and loves the sport of running and it forms a part of his day and who he is. He blogs and writes about his passion for running. “I love getting to know fellow runners via my blogs and via Twitter; there are so many great stories out there. This is a chance for me to share my story and the story of others training for a race at the 2015 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.”
Noel also says he has some unfinished business with the Ottawa Marathon. In 2014 after going out on pace and tagging along with the elite women, he had to pull out after a nagging injury cut his race short. He will not be running the marathon this spring but racing a shorter race in a build for another marathon appearance in 2015.
“Life is short, I want to race with whatever speed my legs will give me every run till they won’t let me run anymore.”
Personal blog: No Paine No Gain
Canadian Running magazine blog: Canadian Running
Leanne Richardson, Ottawa, Marathon
Leanne considers herself an average runner with crazy dreams and a huge desire to always challenge herself! She loves being a wife and mother of her 3 amazing kids! Her mom was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 46 and passed away at only 52. As a way of honouring her mom she participated in Ottawa’s Weekend To End Breast Cancer 60K Walk every year that it was in Ottawa (7). All this walking eventually turned to running. She has now been running for almost 7 years, completing several 5K’s, 10K’s, half marathons and 2 marathons on her journey so far!
Leanne is passionate about encouraging others on their own health and fitness journey, especially newer runners! She recognizes that setting goals, signing up for races and sharing her journey with others is the best way for her to stay focused and be accountable to achieve her goals.
Leanne had intended on running her 1st (and 2nd marathon) in Ottawa, but due to injuries was not able to. She plans for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2015 to be the year it finally happens! Ottawa is her home and she wants to experience running the marathon here. Running allows you to experience the city in a way like nothing else, and running with people you know on the route and sidelines is extra special.
Leanne is honoured to join Team Awesome as she is passionate about inspiring and encouraging other runners to train hard, trust their training and enjoy the journey along the way!
Google+: Leanne Richardson
Blogue: Leanne Richardson
Christine Taylor, Ottawa, 10K
Christine has been involved for most of her adult life working and volunteering in our community in ways where she can somehow give back to this amazing city and the people in it. She is a lifelong Ottawa resident who has grown her career and raised her family to be committed and involved in Ottawa. She has worked in volunteer services, the mental health field, provincial and local politics as well as the business sector.
Christine has always been a “busy person” but busy doesn’t equal active or healthy.
She started running a couple of years ago because she needed change that. Christine started by asking friends (who were runners) to “teach her how to run.” Every time she ran, she reached a new milestone, her confidence grew, her social network expanded and her health improved.
Christine went from virtually no physical activity to training for and completing a half marathon over the course of two years.
Christine is not a natural athlete. She is a mom, a wife, a friend and a volunteer. She is now healthy.
Christine loves to run and that is pretty Awesome.
Just like a marathon, helping people face their challenges and giving them the fuel to take that next step is what makes ordinary people awesome. Christine would like the people around her to be inspired to take those first steps and hopes she can be that inspiration.
Dan Way, Toronto, Marathon
Dan Way lives and breathes running! He’s been running and training “seriously” since 2010 and in that time has run 6 marathons, more than a dozen Halfs as well as countless shorter events. Like many people, Dan started running to lose weight and take greater control of his health and well-being. Now, Dan runs primarily for self-improvement (PBs), competition, camaraderie with teammates as well as for the love of the sport.
Dan runs and trains in Toronto and is a proud member of Black Lungs Toronto, a performance-based running club. While training is his serious hobby, Dan also works for Canadian Running magazine as the editor of the Canadian Race Guide and is fortunate to mix his profession with his passion.
Dan will be taking part in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend for the first time and is looking to lower his PB of 2:34, potentially running a sub 2:30 marathon. Of Ottawa he says: “It’s one of, if not THE BEST, running events in the country. I am so excited and cannot wait to run in our nation’s incredible capital with the amazing support of the crowds and the event’s exceptional organization behind me!”
Dan is also excited to be a part of #TOWR2015’s ‘Team Awesome’ and to share his passion, his inspiration and his love of all things running.
Facebook: Dan Way
Blog: A Day in the Life
Lara Winnemore, Ottawa, Half Marathon
Lara is an Ottawa mom of 2, and a fitness and yoga instructor who is excited to share her love of running and to support, motivate and learn from other runners training for TORW2015 over the coming months.
When asked why she runs Lara says it’s because she can. In 2010 Lara was in a car accident that resulted in complex injuries that still cause chronic pain, fatigue and cognitive issues to this day. Getting back to running has helped Lara to manage symptoms and to stay positive.
Lara’s message to anyone who is unsure of whether they can run their 1st race, no matter the distance, is that our limitations do not have to define us. As a member of #TORW2015 Team Awesome Lara hopes to give back all that she gets from running by encouraging other runners to DREAM BIG, to BELIEVE, and to NEVER EVER GIVE UP!