50 Stars for 50 Years

In celebration of 50 years of running in Ottawa, organizers of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon would like to salute those who have given their time and energy to the event over the past five decades. On May 25, 2024 these great contributors to Ottawa’s running history will be recognized for their dedication with a ceremony in which they will receive a commemorative medallion for their contributions.

Michael Baine, Fundraiser
Just one year after being diagnosed with cancer, Michael Baine completed the half-marathon during the 2021 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Despite needing hiking poles and having a titanium rod supporting his right femur, the long-time runner completed the race in just over six hours. His feat raised more than $100,000 for The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre—one of the largest individual contributions in the history of the Run for a Reason event at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Baine was also dedicated to improving child and youth mental health, including helping to develop and manage substance abuse prevention and treatment programs in Ottawa’s high schools. His exceptional fundraising abilities and extensive volunteer work also earned him the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in 2019. Baine passed away February 24, 2023, but his legacy as a dedicated volunteer and resilient marathon runner continues to inspire others.

Rick Ball, Paralympic Runner
At the 2010 Ottawa Marathon, Rick Ball not only broke the world record for a single-leg amputee in a marathon but also surpassed his own previous record with a time of 2:57:48. Ball took up running in 2007 and quickly became a world-class amputee marathoner. His ultimate goal was to represent Canada in the 2012 London Paralympics, a dream that was shattered when the event was removed from Paralympic competition due to the lack of high-level elite competitors.

Undeterred, Ball shifted from long-distance running to sprinting, racing in the 200 and 400 meter categories. His story serves as an inspiration to athletes worldwide, showcasing the power of determination and perseverance in overcoming obstacles and following one’s dream.

Erin Beasley, Volunteer Xtra Mile Crew
Erin Beasley is a bright star in the Ottawa running community and a valued addition to the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Whether in her role as a member of the Xtra Mile Crew or by dressing up in an inflatable dinosaur costume or wearing a colour tutu, Beasley always contributes to a fun and positive race experience.

As a member of the Xtra Mile Crew she is one of the volunteers who’s always ready and waiting to offer encouragement to runners who need a little support to reach the finish line. What makes Beasley a true star is her kind nature and her willingness to lend her expertise to fellow runners. She never leaves a runner behind and can be counted on for a great pre-race pep talk that focuses on doing your personal best.

Hilda Beauregard, Founder, Pace Bunny Program
Hilda Beauregard is a cherished figure within the Ottawa running community, known for introducing Pace Bunnies to Ottawa’s running scene in 1998. Beauregard came up with the idea of having more experienced runners help participants meet their target race times after seeing pacers at the Chicago Marathon. She then approached Running Room founder, John Stanton, and Run Ottawa Race Director, Jim Robinson, about starting up a similar program in Ottawa.

Beauregard also played a pivotal role at the Running Room on Merivale Road, where she worked tirelessly to support and inspire runners of all levels. She facilitated numerous well-attended run clinics at the Running Room, helping participants prepare for their events, including the Ottawa Race Weekend. These clinics not only provided valuable training guidance but also served as a platform for building connections and camaraderie among runners from diverse backgrounds who may not have otherwise met.

Alain Bordeleau, Marathon Runner
Alain Bordeleau achieved a remarkable feat by qualifying for 1984 Olympics held in Los Angeles with impressive personal best time of 2:14:19 at the 1984 Ottawa Marathon. The Ottawa marathon course where he achieved this time was designated as part of the Olympic trials that year.

Bordeleau’s exceptional skill and dedication are evident in his notable achievements, including four marathons completed in under 2 hours and 20 minutes. His remarkable performances and contributions have left a lasting impact on the marathon running community, solidifying his place as a renowned figure in Canadian athletics.

Denis Bouillon, Runner
Despite facing a serious accident after completing his first half marathon in 2022, on the eve of his 65th birthday, Denis Boullion showed incredible strength and perseverance. He suffered multiple rib and vertebrae fractures, as well as a punctured lung, after falling off a roof. Even though Boullion spent nine days in the ICU, followed by a month confined to a hospital bed upon returning home, he made a vow to himself that he would run again in 2023.

True to his vow, Boullion not only recovered but also completed another half marathon in the same time as he did in 2022. Looking ahead to 2024, he has set his sights on surpassing his previous personal best. His determination to keep running and improving is a testament to the strength of the human spirit.

Gord Christie, Marathon Runner
In the late eighties, Gord Christie dominated the Ottawa Marathon, winning in 1988, 1989 and then again in 1990. His personal best time of 2:14:33, set during the 1989 Ottawa Marathon, is a testament to his exceptional speed, endurance, and competitive spirit. Although he began his running career competing in the 5,000m and 10,000m distances while a student at Princeton University, before turning his attention and talents to the marathon.

In 1990, Christie represented Canada on the international stage, competing in the marathon at the 1990 Auckland Commonwealth Games. His legacy as a formidable distance runner, record-breaker, and representative of Canada on the international stage is etched in the annals of Canadian athletics, inspiring future generations of runners to strive for greatness.

Howard Cohen and John Stoddard, Marathon Runners
To say that Howard Cohen and John Stoddard are Ottawa running legends is no understatement. The two runners have been part of the Ottawa Marathon from the very beginning—and they have participated in Ottawa Marathon since the first marathon in 1975. Together, these two runners exemplify dedication to the sport of running, showcasing resilience and commitment over the years as they adapt to changing circumstances and embrace different race lengths in their enduring passion for running.

Annie Cree, Youth Coach
As a youth coach and program coordinator for Iakwa’shatste Youth Fitness, Annie Cree consistently inspires people in her community, especially youth, to live healthier lives. Cree developed a running program that is offered to five schools in Akwesasne to help prepares young runners to take part in different running events, including the Ottawa Kids Marathon.

In 2023, 65 children participated in the program, with 28 attending the kids’ marathon during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Cree also helps bring wellness to the community as a member of the Akwesasne Suicide Prevention Committee, The Akwesasne Coalition for Community Empowerment and the Community Health and Social Educators Committee.

David Daze, Marathon Runner
David Daze is an avid marathon runner with an impressive track record of participating in some 34 marathons to date. Notably, he has shown remarkable consistency by making 24 consecutive appearances at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, demonstrating his enduring passion for the sport and dedication to challenging himself on the marathon course.

As a former teacher who used to organize Monsignor Paul Baxter Catholic School’s cross-country running program, he has also inspired many young people to take up the sport. Daze’s enduring commitment to running and his impressive marathon resume underscore his status as a seasoned and determined athlete within Ottawa’s running community.

Bruce Deacon, Marathon Runner
Two-time Olympian Bruce Deacon is renowned for his remarkable achievements in marathon running—and it all started at the Ottawa Marathon. He first ran the marathon in 1979 at the young age of 12, marking the start of a lifelong passion for long-distance running. Despite the early start, it would be another 21 years before he claimed victory at the Ottawa Marathon, showcasing his perseverance, dedication, and unwavering commitment to the sport.

Deacon’s win at the 2000 Ottawa Marathon also earned him the distinction of being the last North American to secure the men’s title—a testament to his exceptional talent and competitive spirit. His journey from a young running enthusiast to an Olympian and marathon champion is a testament to his passion, perseverance, and relentless pursuit of excellence in the sport.

Joe Duvall, Director of Operations, Run Ottawa, 2007-2023
For more than four decades, Joe DuVall has been a fixture in Ottawa’s running community. He caught the running bug in his early 20s, running the National Capital Marathon for the first time in 1979. Since then, he has completed 47 marathons as well as numerous shorter races. Duvall has also been an integral part of Run Ottawa, taking over as its Event Operations Manager in 2007.

His many accomplishments during his time with the organization included taking over the operation of the Canada Army Run in 2008, merging with the National Capital Runners’ Association in 2009 and helping Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although he retired as the Event Operations Manager in 2023, he continues to remain busier than ever as a coach with the Ottawa Lions Cross Country Running Club.

Dennis Ferris, Volunteer
Since 2009, Dennis Ferris has played a pivotal role during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, heading up the crucial task of handing out medals to participants at the finish line. His role involves managing a flurry of activity at the finish line, where over 27,000 individuals gather, showcasing his exceptional ability to orchestrate seamless experiences. Known for his cheerful demeanor, Ferris ensures tens of thousands of medals are distributed accurately and promptly.

Ferris also keeps other volunteers motivated and engaged, highlighting his remarkable skill in fostering a positive environment for both runners and volunteers alike. If you’ve ever collected a hard-earned medal at the end of your race, Ferris is undoubtedly one of the key individuals to thank for that memorable moment.

Ian Fraser, Race Director, Run Ottawa, 2019-2024
As Run Ottawa’s Executive Director and Race Director from 2019 to 2024, Ian Fraser faced the significant challenge of navigating the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend as well as the numerous other events hosted by Run Ottawa. Fraser’s strategic leadership during this challenging time contributed significantly to the success and adaptability of Run Ottawa’s events.

His creative solutions included repositioning the brand, establishing new sponsorship and partnership opportunities, delving into e-commerce ventures, and diversifying revenue streams. But Fraser is also a remarkable endurance athlete in his own right. He was a professional triathlete for five years, most notably as a member of Canada’s National Elite Triathlon team from 1994 to 1997.

Jacqueline Gareau, Marathon Runner
Legendary Canadian marathoner Jacqueline Gareau left an indelible mark on the running world—but it all started with her triumph at the 1979 Ottawa Marathon where she was the female winner. That same year, she secured victories at the Montreal Marathon and the prestigious Boston Marathon, showcasing her exceptional talent and endurance. Over her running career, she won nine marathons in all and held the Canadian marathon record from 1979 to 1984 with a remarkable time of 2:29:37.

She also set other Canadian records in various events, including the half-marathon, 20 km, 15 km, 10-mile, and 10K races. Her incredible achievements led to her induction into the Canadian Road Running Hall of Fame in 2019 and her dedication to the sport continues to inspire athletes and cement her status as a Canadian running icon.

Dorothy Goertzen Quale, Marathon Runner
Dorothy Goertzen Quale is an accomplished Canadian marathon runner who has left a significant mark on the running community. One of Dorothy’s most notable accomplishments came in 1987 when she emerged as the female winner of the Ottawa Marathon, completing the race in an astonishing time of 2:40:59. What made this victory even more remarkable was the fact that she ran the race while battling tendinitis in her fibula, highlighting her incredible resilience and determination to push through adversity.

In 1984, Goertzen Quale participated in the Olympic trials, showcasing her elite running abilities by completing the marathon in impressive time despite the intense competition. She finished in fifth place with a time of 2:36:54. As an elite Canadian runner, she consistently achieved remarkable times, a testament to her dedication and training regimen. .

John Halvorsen, Race Director, Run Ottawa, 2013-2019
John Halvorsen’s achievements as an athlete and his leadership in Run Ottawa have made him a respected figure in the Ottawa running community. He first joined Run Ottawa as a board member in 1999 and went on to serve as its chair, before becoming Executive Director and Race Director in 2013. During his tenure, elite attendance to the Ottawa Marathon and 10k Championships soared, and both races also gained the prestigious IAAF Gold Label designation.

Halverson also played a key role in organizing the first Canada Army Run, another notable running event in Ottawa. A two-time Olympian for Norway, Halverson had also participated in Ottawa Race Weekend before joining Run Ottawa. In fact, he won the 10K race in 1988, setting a course record that stood for more than a decade. As a student at the University of Ottawa, he was also the Canadian University Cross Country Champion and a two-time Canadian Cross Country Champion.

Peggy Hickman, Fundraiser
Peggy Hickman is a remarkable individual who has made a significant impact on both the running community and mental health advocacy efforts in Ottawa. Despite living with schizophrenia and undergoing open-heart surgery, Hickman has never given up on her running journey and her passion for advocacy work. Hickman began running at the age of 57, as an unconventional management approach for schizophrenia.

Since then, her passion for running has served as a vehicle for advocacy, particularly in raising awareness and fundraising for those living with schizophrenia through Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend’s Desjardins Charity Challenge. Her journey exemplifies the transformative power of running, not just as a physical activity but as a source of strength, resilience, and healing. Hickman’s efforts have undoubtedly made a positive impact on the lives of many, highlighting the importance of perseverance, compassion, and advocacy in mental health support.

Sindy Hooper, Marathoner and fundraiser
Since being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2013, Sindy Hooper has dedicated herself to giving back to her community and supporting important causes like pancreatic cancer research. Through her two fundraising teams—Marathoners Gone Viral and Make Every Moment Count (MEMC)—she has raised more than $500,000 during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Some $450,000 of that has gone towards pancreatic cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital.

Hooper’s journey into endurance sports began in her 40s when she was a mother of two and working as a human resources manager at The Ottawa Hospital. Inspired by helping a friend train for the Ottawa Marathon, she decided to run the race herself. Her remarkable performance in that first race qualified her for the prestigious Boston Marathon, a lifetime achievement for many distance runners. She has since run many other marathons as well as being an accomplished triathlete and Ironman competitor.

Maryse Jacob, Marathon Runner
At 80 years old, breast cancer survivor Maryse Jacob is an inspiration to all that know her. She started running at 50 as a way to stay in shape and continued running throughout her illness to help stay positive. Since taking up the sport, Jacob has completed four marathons—one for each decade she’s been running—and plans to run the 2024 Tartan Ottawa International Marathon to celebrate her 80th birthday.

Jacob’s dedication to fitness and activity is evident in her participation in 19 Super Series races, where she finished first in her age category for all races, earning her the 2013 Inspiring Person of the Year award from Course Nouveau-Brunswick.

Tania Jones, Marathon Runner
Tania Jones didn’t run her first marathon until 1999, at the age of 30. But the Ottawa native went on to become a fixture at the Ottawa Marathon for the next few years. She took part in the race again 2000, 2002 and 2006. In 2002, she was the top Canadian finisher, finishing second to Lioudmila Kortchaguina.

After retiring from competition, Jones went on to be share her experience and expertise as a coach to runners of all levels. Ironically, she started a coaching business with the woman who beat her to the finish line in the 2002 Ottawa Marathon, Lioudmila Kortchaguina. Through both her achievements as a marathon runner and as a running coach, Jones has made an indelible mark on Canada’s running scene.

Cheryl Kardish Levitan, Marathon Runner
Cheryl Kardish Levitan’s running journey began with the Ottawa Marathon back in 1976. But what started as a casual interest blossomed into a lifelong passion for running. Over the years, she has completed an astounding 80 half marathons around the world. However, her running journey hasn’t been without its challenges.

In 2020, exhaustion during the Ottawa Marathon unveiled a hidden battle—a cancerous tumour in her breast. Yet, Kardish Levitan triumphed over cancer, emerging from remission with a newfound mission. She now channels much of her energy into fundraising and advocacy, championing for women facing the same diagnosis. Through her leadership and determination, she has raised over three hundred thousand dollars, leaving an indelible mark on both the running world and the fight against breast cancer.

Ingrid Koenig, Volunteer and community leader
Since 2015, Ingrid Koenig has meticulously overseen the crucial recovery area during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Every year, she seamlessly orchestrates logistics to ensure the well-being of tens of thousands of participants, including providing ample recovery food and beverages, coordinating medical support, and cultivating a warm, welcoming atmosphere for all participants.

Koenig’s tireless commitment reflects her deep passion for both running and community engagement. She embodies the essence of unwavering dedication to the sport, both on and off the course, making her a standout leader within the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend community.

Karen Lawrence, Medical Team Volunteer
It takes an amazing team of volunteers to run the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and there is no question that Karen Lawrence is a critical part of that team. As one of the organizers of The Ottawa Hospital’s volunteer medical team that sets up near the race finish line, she helps to enable paramedics to bring injured runners to be treated on site—and reduce unnecessary emergency department visits.

But Lawrence doesn’t just help other runners. As a runner herself, she laces up and raises funds in support of neuromuscular research and care. She has participated in The Ottawa Hospital’s Run for a Reason, where alongside her team, raising funds towards building a brand-new Neuromuscular Centre for The Ottawa Hospital. As someone whose father died of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and someone who cares the gene that causes the diseases, she knows just how important raising funds for research is.

Gavin Lumsden, Volunteer
Gavin Lumsden is a star for so many reason. In 2009, he chose his hometown of Ottawa to finish his quest to run a marathon for every letter of the alphabet. The idea had started after he ran his first marathon in Amsterdam and second in Berlin. Once he’d run an “A” and “B” marathon, he decided to try to complete a marathon for every other letter of the alphabet.

Lumsden is also deeply committed to promoting health and wellness within the community. He is founder of Walk this Way, a program specifically designed to assist inactive and overweight children in training for and participating in the annual Ottawa Race Weekend, Through his dedication, guidance, and unwavering support, Lumsden has empowered hundreds of children, instilling in them the self-confidence and pride that accompany the accomplishment of their goals.

Richard Marsolais, Visually Impaired Runner
Richard Marsolais is a substantial contributor to Run Ottawa’s continuously evolving Adaptive Athlete Program. The visually impaired runner first tackled the Ottawa Marathon himself in 1997 with the help of a team of six other runners who helped to guide him along the route. Since then, he’s run the marathon numerous times, and aims to complete the Berlin Marathon this year.

Marsolais is legally blind with retinitis pigmentosa, which has left him with only some peripheral vision. He also has a heart defect called sub-aortic senosis, an obstruction of the main valve that doesn’t allow for proper blood flow. Despite this, he continues to inspire others by pushing his physical limits. In 2018, Marsolais was part of a visually impaired team from Ottawa that conquered the Canadian Death Race, a challenging 125 km race that crosses three mountain summits and includes more than 5,000 metres of elevation gain.

Geordie McConnell, Fundraiser
While most of participants in the Ottawa Marathon lace up their shoes conventionally, Geordie McConnell took creativity to soaring heights in 2012 by crafting a full-body shoe outfit. Affectionately known as “Soleman,” he ran the entire 42.2 kilometres wearing the giant shoe. The shoe outfit weighted more than 20 pounds and was created by students from Carleton University’s industrial design program.

It was all in support of Sole Responsibility, a charity that donates shoes to parts of Africa. But McConnell’s journey as “Soleman” isn’t just about running in a quirky costume; it’s a testament to the power of creativity, compassion, and using one’s talents to make a positive impact in the world. His story serves as a shining example of how a simple idea can leave footprints of change and hope in communities near and far.

Celia McInnis, Marathon Runner
In 1983, Celia McInnes achieved a significant milestone by winning the women’s event at the Ottawa Marathon, showcasing her talent and dedication as a marathoner. Running her first marathon, she managed to overcome more experience opponents with daring dash to the finish line. B

eyond her achievements in running, McInnes is also a dedicated cyclist, consistently logging impressive mileage of over 24,000 kilometers per year. Her commitment to cycling is evident in her advocacy and support for women’s cycling in Ottawa, where she has played a pivotal role in promoting and advancing opportunities for female cyclists.

Kinsley Middleton, Marathon Runner
Kinsey Middleton’s performance at the 2022 Ottawa Marathon will be remembered as a significant milestone in Canadian women’s marathon running. Thanks to her flawless execution and favourable conditions, the runner from Guelph, Ontario, delivered a perfect race, finishing with a personal best time of 2:30:09—and becoming the first Canadian to win the women’s event since Lioudmila Kortchaguina in 2007.

Middleton’s victory not only highlights her individual prowess as a marathon runner but also serves as an inspiration to aspiring athletes across Canada. Her accomplishment adds a new chapter to the rich legacy of Canadian women’s distance running, solidifying her place among the country’s elite marathoners.

Joseph Nderitu, Marathon Runner
Joseph Nderitu made history in 2001 as the first Kenyan to claim victory in the Ottawa Marathon, marking a significant milestone in his illustrious running career. Nderitu’s impressive record includes winning the Ottawa Marathon in 2002, 2003, and 2005, and achieving fourth place twice in other editions. His consistent success on the Ottawa course reflects his prowess as a marathoner and his ability to excel in challenging race conditions.

Despite facing setbacks, such as the loss of Federal funding during a period of peak performance and battling severe Achilles tendonitis, Nderitu remained resilient and continued to compete at a high level. His perseverance and dedication to the sport are evident in his remarkable performances and contributions to the Ottawa Marathon’s legacy.

Ken Parker, Co-founder, National Capital Marathon
Ken Parker is a pivotal figure in Ottawa’s running community who played an important role in making the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend the event it is today. In 1974, Parker co-founded the National Capital Marathon, serving as its guiding force and race director until the mid-1980s.

Although the event started as a small group of marathon runners 50 years ago, the race has evolved into the biggest running festival in the country. Parker’s dedication to Ottawa Race Weekend extended beyond his organizational duties; over the years, he was often seen running alongside participants during the marathon, showcasing his passion and commitment to the event and the sport. There is no question that his contributions have left a lasting impact on the running scene in Ottawa and across Canada.

Judy Piel, Volunteer
With Ottawa Marathon experiences dating back to the mid-2000’s, Judy Andrew Piel is a legend in the running community. She has qualified for and conquered 52 marathons throughout her impressive career, including qualifying for Boston again in 2024. Andrew Piel is the epitome of dedication and grit, completing five overnight long-distance relays, five Ironman Triathlons, three 50K trail runs and a pandemic inspired Virtual Backyard Ultra.

But she isn’t just an accomplished runner and triathlete. As founder of K2J Running, she’s also been coaching and encouraging other runners and triathletes for over a decade. She’s always eager to share her expertise, whether through her insightful blog or contributing to community platforms.

Team PIPR: Andrew Frank and Roberta Driscoll, Fundraisers
In 2009, a small group of Ottawa investment advisors formed Partners Investing in Parkinson Research (PIPR) with a goal raising $500,000 in support of research to better understand and diagnose Parkinson’s. Not only has the group grown over the past 15 year, but it has more than tripled its goal, raising more $1.7 million at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Chaired by Andrew Frank of RBC Dominion Securities, PIPR members reach out to the community at large to raise vital funds to support leading-edge Parkinson Research at The Ottawa Hospital. PIPR’s efforts not only help to support research for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, but also galvanizes the community to support the cause that previously received little attention. Above all, the PIPR team gives hope to those who live with this unremitting disease.

Glendon Pye, Volunteer
As Run Ottawa’s Course Coordinator, Glendon Pye uses the expertise and experiences he’s acquired over the years to ensure race day runs smoothly. Pye is a problem solver who works with his team—day and night—to ensure the safety of all runners and the seamless running of race weekend. They remain vigilant, especially in instances when vandalism by late-night revellers has affected signage.

For instance, one year, kilometre markers on Booth Street were maliciously removed and thrown into the Ottawa River. But Pye and his team quickly improvised, stationing volunteers along the route to verbally indicate distances to passing racers, ensuring the smooth continuation of the event. Another one of his primary challenges involves facilitating access to restricted areas on the event day—a challenge is tackles year after year.

Louise Rachlis, Marathon Runner
Louise Rachlis is known for her extensive contributions as a journalist, writer, and editor focusing on various facets of running and endurance sports. But her dedication to covering running goes beyond mere reporting; she is deeply invested in promoting and celebrating the sport, highlighting the achievements, challenges, and stories of athletes, events, and trends within the running community.

As a journalist and editor, Rachlis’ work has inspired, informed, and connected runners, coaches, and running enthusiasts, contributing significantly to Ottawa’s vibrant running culture and fostering a sense of community. Her passion for the sport and commitment to quality journalism have solidified her reputation as a notable and influential figure in the Ottawa running landscape.

Christophe René, Volunteer
Dealing with the belongings of tens of thousands of runners is no easy task, but Christophe René makes it a smooth process year-after-year. He is in charge of baggage check duties at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, overseeing the logistics for over 27,000 individuals across two intense days.

René’s commitment as a tireless volunteer is unparalleled. He consistently arrives early, adeptly guides fellow volunteers and staff, and willingly tackles even the most demanding tasks with an infectious smile. His humility is evident as he never seeks recognition or reward, exemplifying the true spirit of community service. René’s contributions make a significant impact, ensuring the smooth operation of the race weekend and leaving a lasting impression on all those he encounters.

Jim Robinson, Race Director, Run Ottawa, 1996-2013
From 1996 to 2013, Jim Robinson helped bring about a period of incredible growth for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. After taking over the reins as Race Director and President in 1996, he transformed the weekend into the renowned event it is today. In fact, Robinson’s leadership played a pivotal role in elevating the Ottawa Race Weekend into one of Canada’s premier marathon events.

Under his guidance, the event grew from around 4,000 participants to an impressive 42,600 runners and walkers across seven races. This growth not only brought a vibrant running community together but also contributed significantly to the region’s economic activity, generating nearly $28 million for the city. Although Robinson retired in 2013, his influence remained palpable. He continued to spearhead the lively Health and Fitness Expo until the pandemic temporarily halted activities in 2020. His legacy as a driving force behind the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is deeply ingrained in its history of success and community engagement.

Manny Rodriguez, Elite Coordinator, Run Ottawa, 2001-2023
In 2001, Manny Rodrigues pioneered the Elite Athlete program at the Ottawa Marathon, marking a significant milestone in the event’s evolution. His leadership has been instrumental in expanding the program’s scope, going beyond mere financial incentives to encompass comprehensive on- and off-course support crucial for elite athletes to excel. As a software designer by profession, Rodrigues worked hard to balance his daytime commitments with his role as the Elite Coordinator until stepping down from the role 2023.

During his time in the position, he collaborated closely with former Race Director Halvorsen to elevate Ottawa Race Weekend to the esteemed status of a World Athletics Gold Label event. Rodrigues’s valuable insights and relentless dedication have been pivotal in shaping the event’s reputation and success on the global stage.

Derek Rogers, Volunteer
Derek Rogers started volunteering with Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in 2006, initially coordinating the numerous water stations along the courses during the Saturday and Sunday events. This role required precise coordination to ensure hundreds of volunteers were in the right place at the right time, and that they were adequately prepared to cheer on participants, identify those needing extra assistance, and maintain focus throughout. Due to his exceptional performance, Rogers was asked to manage all route volunteers in 2018. This included overseeing every blocked road, ensuring volunteers guide runners in the right direction, and maintaining safety and proper course management. Rogers’ dedication to Ottawa Race Weekend over the years has greatly contributed to the success and smooth operation of the event.

Silvia Ruegger, Marathon Runner
Silvia Ruegger holds a pivotal place in Canadian running history as the first female marathoner representing Canada internationally—and it all began at the 1984 National Capital Marathon. The event served as an Olympic qualifying event and Ruegger’s victory gained her a spot in the inaugural women’s marathon at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles, where she achieved a remarkable top-ten finish.

Ruegger also set the Canadian women’s record at the 1985 Houston Marathon with an impressive time of 2:28:36. Her record stood for an impressive 28 years, underscoring her remarkable talent and dedication to the sport. In addition to her athletic accomplishments, Ruegger served as the national director of Start 2 Finish, a program dedicated to empowering at-risk youth through a unique combination of reading and running activities.

Mark Sutcliffe, Marathon Runner and fundraiser
In 2023, Mark Sutcliffe made history as the first sitting mayor to participate in the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon—combining civic leadership with a passion for running. He also served as the chair of the Run Ottawa Board for many years, playing a pivotal role in shaping the running community in the region. Sutcliffe also authored Canada’s Magnificent Marathon, a coffee table book produced for the Ottawa Marathon’s 40th anniversary, offering readers a nostalgic journey through the sport’s history in the city.

In 2018, Sutcliffe made a powerful statement by starting the race three hours after everyone else. This symbolic gesture aimed to draw attention to the fact that many individuals begin life at a disadvantage compared to others, shedding light on issues of inequality and social disparity.

Chris Taggart, Sponsor
Chris Taggart’s passion for helping others has become a guiding force throughout his life. As President of Tamarack Homes and Tartan Homes, Chris has had a significant impact on Ottawa Race Weekend. In 2012, Tamarack Homes became the title sponsor of the event, a meaningful initiative that has since become a cornerstone of community engagement and athletic excellence in the region.

They have also donated a $1 million to the Shepherds of Good Hope to address homelessness in Ottawa and a monumental $10 million donation to The Ottawa Hospital Foundation to support the development of a new Civic campus. Chris is a testament to the unwavering dedication to making the world a better place.

Team LiquidGym: Andrew Press  and Karen Snyder
Since 2017, Andrew Press and Karen Snyder have been the heart and soul of Team LiquidGym, bringing warmth and inclusivity to the 2K event at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Many Team LiquidGym members use yellow ALinker mobility devices, which provide a safe way to take part in the event for those facing challenges like pain, balance issues, or fatigue, common in conditions such as MS. A

s someone living with Multiple Sclerosis, Press is an inspiration to others and advocates passionately for inclusivity by welcoming participants of all abilities. Snyder is a beacon of positivity and support, not just for her team but for everyone she encounters. She helps to arrange the delivery of Alinker devices, setting up a welcome tent for her team, and ensuring refreshments and encouragement are plentiful. Snyder’s uplifting spirit brings out the best in everyone around her, making Team LiquidGym a true example of unity and empowerment at the race weekend.

Eleanor Thomas,  1975 Ottawa Marathon Winner
At the age of 26, Eleanor Thomas made history as the first woman across the finish line in the inaugural Ottawa Marathon in 1975. Over the years, Thomas has participated in over 16 marathons, including five in Ottawa. Most notably, she marked her 70th birthday in 2014 by completing another marathon, showcasing her enduring passion for the sport.

Thomas started marathon running at a time when very few women were taking part in the races. In fact, she was only one of three women to take part in Ottawa’s first marathon. She had only been running for a few years when she had hear rumours that a marathon was being planned in Ottawa in 1975—and she signed up as soon as she could. That first race sparked a love of running that has continued throughout her life.

Ken Trischuk, Volunteer
Ken Trischuk has been a dedicated volunteer with Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend for over 25 years. Together with his colleague Glendon Pye, Trischuk takes on the monumental task of planning the marathon and half marathon routes through Ottawa’s scenic streets. Their work begins the previous July, when they meticulously craft safe and enjoyable courses for participants to experience every May.

Not only does Trischuk play a key role in ensuring the courses are set, the more than 550 race barriers are in place, and traffic has been re-routed, but he has been known to go the extra mile. One year, Trischuk, Pye and a group of volunteers had to sprawl across the 618-metre length of the Macdonald-Cartier bridge in the middle of the night to install metre-wide strips of carpet runners so that wheelchair racers wouldn’t get caught on the bridge’s expansion joints.

Mark Wigmore, Pace Bunny Program Organizer, 2008-present
Since 2008, Mark Wigmore has been the heart and soul of the Pace Bunny Program at Tamarak Ottawa Race Weekend—the biggest Pace Bunny team in Canada. Every year, some 60 runners don a pair of rabbits ears in order to help participants stay on track in the weekend’s three main events and Wigmore plays a critical role to keeping the program running smoothly.

Although Wigmore has raced in many cities, he says that nothing trumps the crowds at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Not only does he lead the Pace Bunny Program, he also uses the event to fundraise for Camp Misquah, a camp for adults and children with special needs. Each year, he uses his platform as a Pace Bunny to raise money for the camp.

Bob Woods, Volunteer
Bob Woods may be best known for his significant contributions to the world of cyclo-cross biking and his stewardship of the infamous Almonte-Roubaix bike race. However, for many years he was also the person ensuring the efficient distribution of race kits during Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Every year, he assisted thousands of participants, their families, and friends during the Health and Fitness Expo. His role was crucial in ensuring a smooth process for race bib collection at the kiosk, spanning multiple days of the event. Woods’ methods were tried and true, and honed over years of experience starting around 2009. His dedication and efficiency played a significant role in enhancing the overall experience for participants and contributing to the success of the event.

Dave Yeager, Course Measurer
For runners who’ve looked to Ottawa’s certified course as a gateway to achieving a Boston Qualifier, they have Dave Yeager to thanks for the opportunity. For several years, he has meticulously measured the marathon race course, ensuring its accuracy and compliance with qualifying standards.

Beyond his technical expertise, Yeager has been an integral Run Ottawa volunteer since 2014, contributing significantly to the success of all of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend’s events. As a lifetime endurance athlete, Yeager covers tens of thousands of kilometres through cycling and running each year. His passion for precision, coupled with his love of sport, has made him pivotal in shaping Ottawa’s reputation as a trusted destination for runners seeking Boston qualifying opportunities.

Thank you to everyone who nominated people to this formidable list.