Team Awesome

What is Team Awesome?

Team Awesome is a group of enthusiastic runners (and social media fanatics) who are participating in the 2018 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend (TORW) and want to share updates about their training and race weekend information, as well as support other runners along the way.

We will soon be looking for Team Awesome 2018 members so stay tuned for details!

Here are the members for 2017.

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Vicky Bencze | Half-marathon


Vicky Bencze

Vicky used to run cross-country in elementary school and loved it, but gave it up once she got to high school. It wasn’t until a little over 5 years ago that she got back into it. A friend suggested they run the Spartan Race. Vicky joined a gym, and they trained by running in Gatineau Park and ran the race. It was running the actual race that did it for Vicky. The adrenaline rush, the cheering, the feeling of personal accomplishment crossing the finish line were like nothing else.

Vicky continued running and registered for the 5k Army Run that same year. Ever since, she has been signing up for races of varying distances: 5k, 10k, her first half in May under 2 hours, and her biggest accomplishment to date, a 23k trail run. She runs the roads, trails, along the canal, in Gatineau Park and in her neighbourhood, but no treadmill for Vicky.

Vicky considers being selected to be a member of Team Awesome the year of the 150th birthday to be an honour. She looks forward to sharing her training and cheering on her fellow runners.

Nancy Bonsaint | Half-marathon


Nancy Bonsaint

Nancy is a lawyer and mother of two children. She lives in Quebec and works in Ottawa. She has run since 2001 and completed 6 marathons (2 in Ottawa). This will be the 6th year Nancy has run at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend since 2005 (completing the 10K, half and marathon races).

Her objective this year is to complete the half marathon in 2 hours. Running is an essential part of Nancy’s life because it’s the best way of getting rid of stress and staying active. Her ultimate goal is to qualify for the Boston Marathon for her 50th birthday (in 4 years!)

Being a part of Team Awesome is her way of inspiring women in their 40s to find time for themselves and for running. Nancy is excited to be a part of Team Awesome and is very excited to share her journey to race weekend. Follow here on Twitter and Instagram!

Lynda Bordeleau | Marathon


Lynda Bordeleau

Lynda is proud to be a member of Team Awesome 2017!

Lynda started long distance running in 2007 when a colleague challenged her to race the Ottawa Half Marathon. That was the start of a love of running that has included 20 half marathons, 8 marathons and a 50K race to celebrate her 50th birthday. Running is an important way for her to stay healthy and focused while practicing law. She often runs with her husband Charles and daughter Marie.

Lynda sees the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend as a special event that energizes the entire city. She ran the event last year and was so proud to hear other runners exclaim about the scenic course, cheering crowds and the beautiful City of Ottawa! There is no race like it!

The 2017 TORW will be Lynda’s 5th time running the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon and she will be training hard to make this hometown race her Boston qualifier!   She is looking forward to sharing her journey as part of Team Awesome and inspiring others to join her!

Normand Boulanger | 10K


Normand Boulanger

Normand is a runner who works as a communications and marketing consultant.

He’s been running races since 2012, but has always been running to get places. You might say he has two modes: standing or running. Normand’s first “real” race was in May 2015 at the Scotiabank Montreal Half Marathon.

Equally passionate about cities and nature, Ottawa is the perfect destination for Normand, especially for the 150th anniversary of Canada. Running there will be special after a great first time racing in Ottawa in 2016.

Normand is honoured to be a part of Team Awesome for the second year in a row. Being a part of this team is a great motivator for accomplishing his running goals. He’s excited to rediscover Ottawa at one of the best race weekends ever!

Margaret Buttner | 5K


Margaret Buttner

When her nose isn’t buried in a book (she fundraises for the Vancouver Public Library), Margaret can be found either volunteering, organizing or participating in running events in British Columbia. She’s often known as the social media princess as she is commissioned to tweet for various running events and for her, one of the best things about running at her pace (slowly) is that she can savour her moments on the route, thanking volunteers and enjoying the scenery, which in Vancouver is pretty spectacular. She credits Kathrine Switzer for inspiring her to start running, and is a proud #261Fearless Ambassador for her running hero. She’s also vice-president of her run club, Lions Gate Road Runners, the first run club in BC dedicated to the sport of road running (and founders of the Vancouver Marathon).

The Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon will be her first destination run and she’s very excited to be part of #TeamAwesome for 2017. She’ll be participating in the 5K on race weekend.

Clark Carvish | Half-marathon


Clark Carvish

Clark is a husband, father of 4 and grandparent. Born and raised in Ottawa, he has always been active in sports (fastball, hockey), though running wasn’t one of them. Clark’s running journey started in September 2011 with the words to his sister in law “If you can’t find anyone to do the Spartan race, I will do it with you.” Fortunately (although at the time he thought “unfortunately”) this changed his life. Clark gave himself a goal to start training January 1st. He has never looked back.

He started with 5K races and now runs half marathons and triathlons. Clark feels that we are in a wonderful city with the best marathon in the country!! He looks forward to supporting other runners’ journey any way he can. And yes, he is now one of those people who, when it’s -40C and snowing, people will look at and say, “Is that guy nuts?” No, he says, he is just a runner.

Nicola Cassidy | Marathon


Nicola Cassidy

Answering a challenge from a co-worker, Nicola Cassidy of Fredericton, New Brunswick started running with the goal of finishing 5km before she turned 50. She quickly met that goal and has 2 full marathons, 12 half marathons and countless shorter races under her belt after only 5 years.

She completed the inaugural Atlantic Running Challenge and the Ultimate Running Challenge in 2014, which was comprised of 9 races across Atlantic Canada. Nicola has cheerfully organized several running events for fun, to raise funds for charity and to help get people active. An avid race enthusiast she is often seen volunteering at local race events.

Her long-term goal is to run a race in each Canadian province and the 6 major marathons with her running partner, Christopher. The Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon is on her bucket list of races and will add a 5th province to her list.

Andrea Cherwinski | Marathon

Potterville, Michigan

Andrea Cherwinski

Andrea started running in November of 2013 with the initial goal of keeping off the 70 pounds of weight she had already lost. She then found a 5k to run and decided it would be a fun goal to run a 5k that spring. After running that 5k it was all over and she was addicted to running. She quickly signed up for her first 5 mile race over the Mackinac Bridge.

Running quickly helped Andrea to lose even more weight and she has now lost 130 lbs. and gained countless friends. She ran her first half marathon the end of 2013 and her first marathon in the spring of 2014. The Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon was her 2nd marathon, which she ran in spring 2015. She considers it by far her most amazing experience.

Andrea is Michigan native and looks forward to running the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon again in 2017 with the hope of getting her Boston Marathon qualifying time. Andrea looks forward to being part of Team Awesome this year and encouraging others to meet their goals in Ottawa!

Roch Courcy | 10K


Roch Courcy

Roch is responsible for social media at the City of Gatineau and the father of a four-year-old daughter that loves running just like he dad! 😉

Beyond spending his days on Facebook and Twitter, Roch has been running for three years and loves sharing the experience of being a runner. He has a blog where he talks about the races he runs and his life as a father! Roch has been a member of Team Awesome for three years.

Roch ran his first half-marathon in 2016 in Toronto after having run more than 20 10K races. Incidentally, that’s the distance he prefers and also what he’ll run at the 2017 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend with his brother Richard, who will run for the first time in his life! Roch first ran Ottawa in 2014. In 2017, it will be his fourth consecutive year participating.

Roch loves running for fun, but also to be a tourist. He loves discovering new place on foot. Even though he has run many kilometres in different cities in Quebec and Ontario, it’s CLEARLY Ottawa that has the atmosphere that’s the most fun.

David Dazé | Lumberjack Challenge


David Dazé

David is a local elementary school teacher, husband, and father of two teenage girls who will be running his 17th consecutive Ottawa Marathon and 26th marathon overall at this year’s Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

“Ottawa has a beautiful marathon course”, he says, “and it’s a real treat to see so many friendly faces cheering you on in the homestretch to the finish line. It’s my favourite race.”

In addition to Ottawa, David has also run marathons in Toronto, Chicago, New York, and Boston. Every year he also trains a large number of students from grades 3 to 6 at his school in preparation for the Kids’ Marathon. David enjoys sharing his passion for running with others and is very happy to be back for a third year with Team Awesome!

Tracy DeWolfe | Marathon

Bedford, Nova Scotia

Tracy DeWolfe

Tracy is a fixture at the Running Room in Bedford, Nova Scotia. It starting with their Learn to Run program and has led to 9 half marathons and 2 full marathons. Both marathons have been in Ottawa with the first in 2015. She had such a great time, she’s coming back for a third! Since she was already signed up for 2017, the decision to apply for Team Awesome was easy.

With a group of first timers joining her this year (plus more than a few repeaters), she’s looking forward to sharing her excitement and experiences with them…the spectators, the course, the possible heat but most importantly, the lack of hills compared to home! Since her last marathon, she has added boot camp to her training program and stretched her running streak to over 1,000 days. Will it help her break 5 hours? Stay tuned!

Jen Dingle | Marathon

Amherstburg, Ontario

Jen Dingle

Jen started running in 2009 when she signed up for her first 5k to help her quit smoking and hasn’t looked back! Seven years later with numerous races under her belt, she is still smoke free and in the best shape of her life! A busy mom who balances a long distance relationship and a full time job, when she’s not chauffeuring her teenage daughter, Jen hits the pavement to relieve stress when life gets a bit too chaotic! She loves being a part of the running community, and when she’s not running a race, she can likely be found volunteering at a water stop or cheering her fellow runners from the sidelines.

Living in Southern Ontario, travelling to the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon was high on Jen’s running bucket list. In 2017, she is crossing it off with a bang, running her first full marathon during Canada’s 150th birthday celebrations. Jen is excited to share her journey to 42.2 km on social media, and hopes to inspire her fellow runners and walkers as they train for the 2017 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Mathieu Drouin | Half-marathon


Mathieu Drouin

Mathieu was born and raised in Hawkesbury, Ontario. He started running at the age of 8 in a local race with his dad and hasn’t stopped since. He ran competitively in high school, which brought him to the Eastern Ontario Secondary School Athletic Association in cross-country running.

Mathieu always loved a new challenge. He registered for a half-marathon with only a month to train and completed it in 1:48min. That’s when the new challenge of being a pace bunny came up. He has paced several races ever since and loves the feeling of helping others achieve their goal.

Mathieu discovered the triathlon after one his friends “won a cancer battle” and decided to do an Ironman. His friend’s motivation became his motivation! Since that day his life has been swim-bike-run-repeat. Participating in sports has always been part of Mathieu’s life, he is a big believer that sports brings positive and healthy choices around us!


Julie Drury | Half-marathon


Julie Drury


Julie Drury is an 8x marathoner, including the Chicago Marathon, NYC Marathon and a 3x Boston Marathoner. Julie’s goal is to run all of the marathon majors and enjoy the journey.

A long time team sport athlete, Julie started running in 2009. She was inspired to run by her daughter Kate who was suffering from an undiagnosed disease. Julie sought out running as a means of coping and finding time for herself amidst the stress of caring for a medically fragile child. She is grateful to her incredible running partners for supporting her.

In 2011, Julie’s daughter Kate was diagnosed with SIFD a rare form of mitochondrial disease. Inspired by her daughter, Julie has led Team MitoCanada, a charity fundraising team to participate at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend as part of #runScotia. Last year, Team MitoCanada had more than 150 runners and raised over $50,000 at for mitochondrial disease research.

Julie enjoys sharing her passions via social media, and is excited to be a run ambassador with #TeamAwesome for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2017. She looks forward to inspiring and encouraging others to run by sharing her journey, training tips, and love of running.

Jason Faber | Marathon


Jason Faber

Jason Faber is from Ottawa. He is married to a wonderful woman and together they have a 4 year old Nova Scotia Duck Toller, named Chandos. Jason is marketing guy, working 9-5 for the folks who manage the .CA domain name. He loves craft beer, cooking, and volleyball. Oh, and he loves running. Marathons. He’s one of those crazies. Black toenails. Ice baths. All that good stuff.

Jason’s running adventure started back in 2012 when he ran his first half marathon, and he haven’t looked back. Since then he’s run 4 marathons, including Boston this past spring, 6 half marathons, and a few trail races in between. Jason can’t wait to run the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon again in 2017 as part of #TeamAwesome. His goal is to beat his PB of 2:59:17 and re-qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Harold Fudge | 10K/5K/Half-marathon


Harold Fudge

Harold is originally from Newfoundland and came to Ottawa in the late nineties to begin work as a web developer. Now nearly two decades later, Harold is a husband and father of two and truly calls Ottawa home.

In early 2015 Harold decided that it was time to make fitness a priority and in searching for something that got him outside and was a continual challenge; running seemed a logical fit. It began slowly with a couch to 5K program but soon the momentum built and he was regularly running further and faster. In 2016, Harold took on the challenge of races and met goals for time in 5K, 10K and half marathon distances.

“The Race Weekend is the pinnacle of the spring for running in Ottawa, being in the huge crowd of thousands with elite runners from around the world with a singular goal to run for the finish is a thrilling experience that cannot be easily replicated in life or other sports.”

In 2017, Harold will run in the 5K, 10K and half marathon events at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and is beyond excited to do so as a member of Team Awesome.

Julie Gagnon | Half-marathon


Julie Gagnon

Julie started running in 2011 after being inspired by her partner, a passionate marathon. Since then, running has been an integral part of their family life.

Between a job as an emergency room nurse, two active kids (boys ages 2 and 8) and different family commitments, Julie always finds time for running and training. Reconciling work, family and sport is very important to her and she tries to involve her kids as often as possible in their shared passions.

Julie has participated in dozens of races of 5, 10, and 15K, and she is working on her 6th half-marathon and 4th time running in Ottawa. The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is a can’t-miss event and one that she and her running friends always attend.

Julie is very happy to be a part of Team Awesome and wants to show it’s possible to reach your goals with a lot of passion and perseverance.

Robin Gambin | Half-marathon


Robin Gambin

In 2016, while training for my half marathon, I started following the #TeamAwesome members on their training journey for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. So when the 2017 call was placed for #TeamAwesome members I jumped at the chance to be part of this team.

I started running just a few years ago and it quickly turned into a passion. During the week I run with work friends and our weekly running club; and on weekends I run with neighborhood friends.

This will be my 5th year participating in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend The entire event has an amazing atmosphere with crowd support for any distance being run and I look forward to spreading the word about the awesome Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Ashley Goddard | Marathon


Ashley Goddard

In 2006, Ashley reluctantly registered for her first ever road race at the Ottawa Race Weekend 5k. From that day forward, running has been a part of Ashley’s life and each year it’s never a question of whether she will be running in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend but what distance she will be running.

2017 will be Ashley’s 12th consecutive year participating in Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. She will be running the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon for the 3rd time.

Ashley’s favorite aspect of race weekend is watching the community come together. Not many cities embrace their races the way Ottawa does. She is proud to call Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend her hometown race and encourages everyone to come out and run, volunteer or spectate at this amazing event.

Ashley is excited to be a member of Team Awesome as it provides her the opportunity to give back to the community and race that has already given so much to her.



Lauren Gouchie | 10K


Lauren Gouchie

Lauren is a runner who works in student affairs in Ottawa. Originally from Nova Scotia, Lauren picked up running in 2007 when she first moved to Ottawa as a way to keep in shape, without too much formal commitment.

Although one of Lauren’s biggest running accomplishments was shaving seventeen minutes off of her (then) half-marathon personal best (PB), Lauren would best describe her running style as “slow and steady”. Motivated to shake this perception, Lauren has set herself the challenge of besting her current 10k PB at this year’s Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. She hopes her less-than-traditional approach to training (including playing volleyball and squash weekly), in addition to her running plan, will all help to contribute to her being a stronger than ever runner.

As a member of Team Awesome, Lauren is super excited to share her journey of taking this 10k on head-on! She looks forward to connecting with everyone via social media and in-person, and motivating one another as we slowly get closer to race day!

Jodie Hutchinson | Half-marathon

Scarborough, Ontario

Jodie Hutchinson

“I have always loved running. I first fell in love with running as a cheerleader. That is to say that I didn’t actually run, but I went out at the crack of dawn with my friends that were racing and I cheered my heart out. I also rang the heck out of a cowbell!” says Jodie.

One day, Jodie decided that what she was watching was going to be a lot more fun to actually go out and do, so she signed up for a 5k in early 2013 and hasn’t stopped running since. She hasn’t stopped cheering, but she just likes running a heck of a lot better than just cheering! 😉

Jodie is a back of the pack runner. She considers herself the ‘Unofficial Leader of The Back of the Pack’. This fall, Jodie ran her first half-marathon. As with anyone, there were obstacles that tried to get in her way, but her resolve was strong and she didn’t quit. She had a goal in mind and a game plan to get there and she is proud to say, she did it!

Jodie is super excited to #RunOttawa2017. She will be participating in the Half-Marathon distance in our nation’s capital. Ottawa is a gorgeous city and she looks forward to seeing it from the view of a runner.

Lindsay Khan | Half-marathon/10K


Lindsay Khan

Lindsay is a mom of two, a marketing consultant and runner, living outside of Ottawa. Lindsay wasn’t always a runner. She began running in 2006, completing her first half marathon at Ottawa Race Weekend in 2007. After having two children, Lindsay made the jump to the marathon, running her first one during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in 2016, where she also qualified for the 2017 Boston Marathon.

Lindsay is planning on running the 10k and the Half-Marathon at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in 2017. Lindsay is extremely passionate about running and testing her abilities. She is so excited to be a part of Team Awesome and looks forward to connecting with everyone training for all of the events at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2017!

Justin Lagat | Marathon


Justin Lagat

Justin grew up in the rural area of the Rift Valley region in Kenya. His primary school was about four kilometers away from home and as a kid he, with his siblings, would run to and from the school four times in a day making it a total of 16km daily. He believes this, in addition to his genes, made him grow into a runner.

However, in a land where everyone is born into the same life situations, it was hard for him to make a great impression as an exceptional runner in the region. He would only win in some low profile competitions, but that was enough to jump-start his career in running.

Running and writing, which is his other passion, have blended well and besides running he is also a columnist with RunBlogRun, author of Determined Runners and a freelance sports journalist covering the sport of running. His work has been featured in a number of international media including the and Thrive Sports.

So far, he has completed three marathons, one being the 2016 Ottawa Marathon, during which he had to push on to the finish despite the heat. His aim from now on is to complete at least two marathons every year.

Francis Lamarche | 10K


Francis Lamarche

Francis discovered running in 2015. After his son was born, he wanted to change his sedentary living habits for a healthier life and to give a good example to his offspring. After many trials with many different training plans and techniques, it is finally running that won his heart! Running has now become an integral part of his life. He has even founded the site ‘Cours Geek Cours’ (run, geek, run) to coax other geeks, gamers and nerds like him to get moving and running like himself!

Francis has heard a lot about the Ottawa Marathon as the must event in Canada’s running arena! Aware that the weekend provides various challenges, it is in the 10K that Francis hopes to achieve his best time and take months of efforts to fruition.

Francis is extremely proud of being part of Team Awesome within #CourezOttawa2017. He already looks forward to run through the City of Ottawa and to live that incredible experience in the nation’s capital!

Lindsay MacAdam | Marathon


Lindsay MacAdam

Ever since she was a child, Lindsay has always enjoyed running. Though she never pursued the sport competitively, it has been like a trusty old friend to her—not demanding of her time, but there whenever she needs it.

It wasn’t until 2009 that Lindsay caught the long-distance running bug, after graduating from university and deciding to train for her first half-marathon as an escape from the monotony of that 9 to 5 grind. Since then, Lindsay has completed seven half-marathons, two 30-kilometre races, five full marathons, a handful of shorter-distance races, and she has no intention of stopping. With a Boston Marathon qualifying time as her next big goal, she plans to spend 2017 focusing on speed while remaining injury-free.

This will be Lindsay’s second time running the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. She is thrilled to be a part of Team Awesome, and looks forward to sharing her training journey with others.

Laurie McCann | Half-marathon


Laurie McCann

Laurie is a police officer and mother of two. Trying to balance work-life and being a mom isn’t always easy. Laurie’s way to de-stress and keep her mental health in check is to run and stay active.

Laurie has been running since 2004 when a friend encouraged her to run a half marathon with her. She hasn’t stopped since. Laurie just completed her 9th half marathon in Toronto and running in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in May will be her 10th half marathon to put in the books.

Laurie’s is super excited to be running in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and being part of #TeamAwesome for a second year.

Laurie visits Ottawa frequently and loves the city.

André Mollema | Half-marathon


André Mollema

Since he ran his first 2 km with his father, at age 8, up to the first marathon he ran in 2014, André always considered himself addicted to running for the simple reason that it is so easy, so practical, and so healthy (for the body as well as for the mind!) It is an excellent way to forget the daily worries, to rest and recharge his batteries.

Now a father, it is with their children (who will run the Kids Marathon) that each and every member of the Mollema family will participate in the 2016 edition!!!

André considers that running in Ottawa is simply beyond comparison… The different courses take you to view the most panoramic landscapes our national capital has to offer. It is the best place to have the chance to experience what world-class running is.

Looking forward to see lots of you there next May!

Jessica Needham | 5K


Jessica Needham

Jessica is excited to participate in her third consecutive Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend this year! After moving to Ottawa, Jessica participated in her first ever half marathon at race weekend. The running community was so amazing and she had such an incredible experience that she had to return to Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend each year after.

Jessica’s favourite part of race weekend is watching Ottawa’s community unite as it cheers on and supports all participants over the weekend. When she’s not racing you can find her along the course cheering on other runners and holding up one of the many wonderful/creative motivational signs people make for race weekend.

Jessica loves running because she’s always pushing her own limits and discovering what she’s capable of accomplishing. Jessica is honoured to join Team Awesome for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2017 and looks forward to being more involved and cheering on Ottawa’s running community!

Noel Paine | Half-marathon


Noel Paine

Noel Paine is a 40-something new dad who lives in Gatineau and run-commutes to work in Ottawa. Noel has a passion for running and promoting healthy, active living and has been lacing up for almost 30-years. Posted into the area as a military officer in 2008, Noel has made the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend part of his running schedule and has loved being part of Canada’s biggest race weekend almost every year.

Struggling to find time to train for a spring marathon and finding the 42.2-kilometre race distance a mountain beast to conquer, he has opted to line up for the half-marathon in 2017. Noel is looking forward to encouraging others and getting runners out for a great race weekend in the year of Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Bianca Paquette | Gatineau


Bianca Paquette

Bianca is personal and group trainer who is passionate about physical activity. Not only does she recognize the physical benefits of regular activity, she strongly believes in the mental benefits it provides, especially from running.

Seeing how far someone can push himself or herself is extremely important for Bianca and that’s what pushed her to sign up for her first half-marathon in November 2012 at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. She trained without knowing what to expect. In May 2013, she ran the 21.2K race and the very next weekend, she signed up for her next one.

Since then, she has participated in 5 or 6 races a year, always looking to post a better time. But now, the big question for her is: when will she sign up for her first marathon?

Kristi Raz | Marathon

Woodlawn, Ontario

Kristi Raz

Kristi has been running for 5-and-a-half-years. Like many, her initial goal was to be able to finish a 5k. She assured family and friends that she would never run more than 10k – after all, only a crazy person would do that. Somehow she got sucked into the crazy and found herself running half marathons, marathons and in 2016 she completed three 50k races.

Kristi also discovered that there was so much to try in the world of running, so she now mixes road running, trail running, orienteering and snowshoe running into her schedule.

One of Kristi’s favourite running memories is of being a Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon Pace Bunny in 2016. Helping a group of runners achieve their marathon goals was truly an honour and privilege. This year she will be running the marathon again, hopefully wearing another pair of bunny ears!

Leanne Richardson | Marathon


Leanne Richardson

Leanne is a mother of 3 and alongside her husband runs their business in Ottawa. She started running in 2008 and over the next several years ran a number of 5K’s, 10K’s and half marathons. She ran her first marathon in 2013 and has since run 4 more marathons, a 50K, 150K and her most recent event, a 273km multi-day stage race.

“Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend allows you to take in all the beautiful parts of our great city”, says Leanne. “There is an energy that cannot be explained, but instead needs to be experienced”.

She is passionate about sharing her health and fitness journey in hopes to encourage and inspire others to set goals, believe in themselves and succeed. She considers herself “average” with crazy dreams!

Leanne loves everything that Team Awesome represents. It’s about sharing our running experiences as we train for race weekend. Encouraging, supporting, and cheering one another on so we can all cross the finish line!

Denise Rollin | Half-marathon


Denise Rollin

Denise Rollin is as an event coordinator at a not-for-profit in Ottawa. Having played soccer since the age of 12, she has always been athletic and competitive, but did not take up running until the fall of 2015 when she ran the 5 km Army Run race. As her passion for running ignited, an all-over lifestyle change ensued which has seen her hitting the gym regularly and focusing on clean eating.

Denise is proud to say that, in just one year, her 5 km race time has dropped from 37:05 to 27:00 flat! Denise also ran the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 10k last year – another huge running milestone. This year, Denise will run her first half-marathon and is excited to ramp up her training in preparation for the big day alongside #TeamAwesome.

Denise can often be found exploring the natural beauty of Gatineau Park or out on training runs with her four-legged companion Rae, a Boston Terrier Bulldog. Aside from being an avid dog lover and advocate for all animals, Denise weight trains regularly at Iron North Studio in Hintonburg and loves taking in all things Ottawa including local breweries, restaurants and events.

Logan Ryan | Kids Marathon


Logan Ryan

Seven-year-old Logan is so excited to be part of Team Awesome for 2017! He just got a taste of running this past year, participating in a handful of local races. It’s amazing to see the look of pride on his face when he crosses the finish line, and the delight when he receives his medal. Running is definitely a great way to help kids build up confidence in themselves that they can carry through life!

Logan isn’t really fond of competitive team sports; however, he does enjoy exploring the great outdoors and getting his hands dirty. He also loves to swim! At home you can find Logan playing a game of Minecraft or learning how to code on the computer.

Logan is full of energy with an incredible positive spirit. He is looking forward to making new friends and encouraging others to get more active this Spring, and join him in running Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend!

Nina Ryan | 10K


Nina Ryan

Nina is a new runner, but already quite an avid runner. She started her journey a year ago in an effort to get more active and be in better shape. Never could she have anticipated just how quickly she would take to running once she began training! For the first time Nina finds herself looking forward to challenging herself as an athlete, and is amazed to see what she is capable of achieving!

Nina is a mother of two boys, aged 5 and 7, who have already picked up on her enthusiasm for running. She is thrilled to have her oldest son, Logan, also joining her as a member of Team Awesome. This group of people are so friendly and encouraging, with a passion for running that’s most certainly contagious!

Nina will be running the Ottawa 10k at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. She is greatly looking forward to documenting her experiences as she prepares for an exciting new year of running in the capital during Canada’s 150th anniversary, and hopes that she will inspire others to join her!

Terry SanCartier | Marathon


Terry SanCartier

“Ottawa is a great running city” says Terry. “I love training and racing along the Rideau Canal, the Ottawa River and Gatineau Park. Few cities in the world can claim to offer so much.”

Terry started running in July 2006 and ran his first marathon in May 2007 in Ottawa. He had no idea then what an amazing adventure lay ahead.

Terry ran his 50th marathon in October 2016. He has run in Paris, Rome, Rotterdam, New York, Las Vegas, Miami and Big Sur to name a few. He has run many races in Canada and the US but Ottawa remains special to him. He ran his 10th consecutive Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in 2016.

“I look forward to running the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in 2017. I’ve made some amazing friends through running over the last 10 years and Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is a reunion of sorts with so many of us participating year after year.”

Tracy Shouldice | Marathon


Tracy Shouldice

Tracy is proud to be a native Ottawan, and is an active member of the Ottawa running community. He was relatively late to running (starting in 2010), but once he ran his first race, he was hooked.

Tracy’s passion is running for those who can’t. Tracy has participated in individual and team fundraising efforts for Team in Training, CHEO (Sears Run), and most recently, Imerman Angels. Since he started running, he and his fundraising teams have raised well over $100,000 for those who could use a little help. And he’s far from finished.

Tracy has participated in every Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend since he started running. It is, by far, the highlight of his running year. In 2017, he’ll tackle the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon for the second time, and encourages any runner wanting to connect with him to reach out!

Jordan Thoms | Lumberjack Challenge


Jordan Thoms

As a teacher Jordan’s dream is for everyone to find what makes them truly passionate; to be happy for life. As a personal trainer his dream is for everyone to find a physical activity they love to do; to be active for life. As a runner, it’s within these journeys that we continue to grow; to step outside the comfort zone of life!

The valuable life lessons of endurance, resilience, perseverance, teamwork, and community can all be learned on the run, one step at a time. Whether the distance is 5K, a half-marathon, or a multi-day adventure race, Jordan loves the lesson running teaches, that with hard work anything is possible!

Being part of #TeamAwesome is going to be AWESOME! All of our goals are relative, but we all have one thing in common: to reach beyond our perceived limits. Jordan takes in much inspiration from others embarking on their own incredible journeys, and he hopes he can provide the same as he trains for his favourite event of the year: the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon!

Mike van Mil | Half-Marathon


Mike van Mil

Mike has been running since early 2014. He is a dad to two young children and currently works full-time and part time as a Paramedic in the Greater Toronto Area.

Mike and his wife started running together when they set a goal to run the Wine and Dine half marathon in Walt Disney World in November of 2014. They haven’t looked back since! He has completed many races during that span, including his first full marathon with his wife in 2015. His last and most exciting challenge was completing the Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World, which is a 5K, 10k, half marathon and full marathon over 4 consecutive days this past January.

Mike is really looking forward to running in our Nation’s capital this May. He thinks the fast, flat course, the beautiful scenery in Ottawa and running past some of Canada’s most iconic historical buildings will make for a truly memorable half marathon experience.

Mike really enjoys connecting with runners to cheer them on, answer questions and support them. You will begin to notice him liking and commenting on your social media posts so make sure you continue to tag them with #RunOttawa2017. Being a member of #TeamAwesome for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend allows Mike the unique opportunity to accomplish this and he is very honoured to be afforded this privilege.

Penny Walford | Half-marathon


Penny Walford

In 2013, Penny ran the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon with a busload of other ladies from the Waterloo, Ontario area nicknamed “22 from Waterloo”. She is thrilled to be returning along with an even bigger busload of runners in 2017 to run the half marathon.

Since finishing her first marathon in 2009, Penny has gone on to run more than 70 races, including 5 more marathons, 18 half marathons and one ultra marathon.

She loves sharing the joy of running with an ever-growing running family, both online and off.

A back-of-the-pack runner who loves to have fun, Penny’s goal is to complete, not compete. The wonderful people she’s met, the personal goals she’s achieved, the strength she’s gained physically and mentally – these benefits come from running to try and better herself, not trying to run better than others.

Penny’s Twitter profile pretty much says it all: “Amateur mom, wife and runner; professional writer, chocoholic and coffee drinker.”

Rebecca Wemyss | Half-marathon


Rebecca Wemyss

Rebecca is a runner, coach and teacher from Ottawa. A former sprinter, Rebecca started distance running in 2009 when she moved to Ottawa. She registered for her very first race, the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 5K in 2010 and has run in every Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend since. Rebecca also coaches high school track and field, coaches with the Ottawa Lions Track and Field Club and also volunteering at local races, including leading a Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon water station.

The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is one of Rebecca’s favourite weekends of the year. She has run the 5K, 10K and half marathon before and one day would like to run the marathon. Last year, Rebecca ran the half marathon and will do so again in 2017. She is determined to run under 2:00.

For years, Rebecca has encouraged people to take part in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Being involved with Team Awesome will help her promote the race even more.