ByWard Market Runner – Meet Hannah Manning
Although she’s been running for years and knows every inch of Ottawa, Hannah Manning is still a little nervous about her first marathon this May.
“It’s just excitement,” she says. “I’ve always said if I was going to do a marathon I wanted it to be Race Weekend.”
“They’ve just run 42.2 km and seeing them cross the finish line is just really inspirational,” she says. “So running my first marathon in Ottawa is very intentional.”
One of her favourite memories of the Weekend was during the heatwave a few years ago that almost cancelled the Sunday races. Coming through Tunney’s Pasture, a somewhat quieter spot and harder for crowds to cheer from, Manning saw a couple handing out ice cube bags and telling all the runners they could do it.
“I almost started to cry,” she says. “It was so hot, in a really tough spot, and here are these people who’ve taken the time out of their day to come cheer everyone on.”
It’s par for the course, she says, because everyone is so welcoming in the Ottawa running community.
Manning began running in 2012, when she ran the SeaWheeze Half Marathon in Vancouver. She has run the Canada Army Run regularly since 2013, and is part of their Frontline Race Team. She was also part of Run Ottawa’s Team Awesome in 2018 and runs with a crew from the Slater location of Running Room, which she says has helped her improve her run times.
“That accountability and friendship has been really nice, too.”
Originally from Delta, British Columbia, Manning moved to Ottawa over 10 years ago. She lived in Sandy Hill as she completed her political science studies at uOttawa, and has lived in the ByWard Market for three years.
On top of being a regular policy analyst for the federal government, Manning is also the editor of Apt613, an award-winning community news website. Looking to get involved in Ottawa as she fell in love with the place, Manning would relish going out to meet local movers and shakers.
“Living in the Market, I think we get a mixed reputation,” she says. “But I absolutely love living here. I have great neighbours and there are so many interesting shops and restaurants all around me.”
For those who want to experience the national capital that she likes to run, Manning recommends a loop that starts and ends in the Market. It’s just under 9K and has one of the best views of Parliament buildings, in her opinion.
“Start at the Ottawa sign—perfect spot to snap a photo!—and then head down Sussex to the beautiful Union Street bridges,” she says. “Loop around Rideau Hall, and back up Sussex, across the bridge into Quebec. Run past Jacques-Cartier Park to the Alexandra Bridge, then cross back into Ottawa.”
Manning spends a lot of time running around Sussex Drive, and loves running across the Alexandra Bridge. The great view of Ottawa and the turn in front of the National Gallery of Canada is both comfortable and energizing, she says. That comes in handy during the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.
“It’s when I know exactly how far it is to the finish line, and I think to myself, ‘This is my home turf.'”