Eight Tamarack Ottawa Virtual Race Weekend 2020 stories you may not have read yet

What a year! It is safe to say that our flagship event, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2020 looked entirely different this past year. There were feelings of dismay, confusion, and fear, not just in the running community but throughout the world. Despite the challenges, 7,419 participants displayed overwhelming amounts of hope, strength, incomparable fortitude through their Tamarack Ottawa Virtual Race Weekend 2020 races. Every single participant stands to be proud of their race and of crossing the finish line no matter the circumstances. Congratulations!

Of the many inspiring stories, eight stood out in the midst of the pandemic chaos:

1. Alex Bain is a large Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend supporter and participant. This year, he ran his Lumberjack Challenge along the east coast in Prince Edward Island. He took it upon himself to elevate his finish line photos (see below!) and shared his entire race experience along the way. His excitement for his Lumberjack Challenge was infectious. Alex has run the Boston Marathon twice, Chicago, Disney, Big Sur, Napa Valley and his own PEI Marathon ELEVEN times. This past year, he ran the Lumberjack Challenge and New York City Marathon virtually. His mother and he have been loyal volunteers for the PEI Marathon for the past 16 years. As a person with autism, Alex is nothing short of a successful and seasoned marathon runner and a beacon of hope for virtual runners nationally. Congratulations, Alex!

2. Diana Verrell of Montréal, QC reached out to Run Ottawa shortly after the decision was made to go virtual. She shared her personal story about her first 5k in 2011, which helped her come out of her 20-year battle with depression and physical health. Flash forward to today, she has run the Ottawa 5k, Ottawa 10k, Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon and Voyageur Challenge. Tamarack OttawaRace Weekend has become a family reunion for her and her extended family, who come together from Montreal, Toronto, Stouffville, Mount Albert, Guelph, Elora, Kingston, and Ste. Hilaire. While she was disappointed to not visit Ottawa this year, she confirmed: “We will still be running.” Congratulations Diana and family. Thank you for your generous support.

3. He said YES! A monumental moment happened for Melanie Babin during her Scotiabank Virtual Ottawa ½ Marathon. Her partner, David, got down on one knee at kilometre 12 and asked her to marry him. What a way to motivate her to the finish line! Congratulations to the now newlyweds!

4. To say Mark Coates got creative with his marathon route is an understatement. Mark ran his marathon on May 25th, arguably in the thick of early COVID-19’s first alarm. With motivation and safety in mind, he ran close to 50 kilometres on his own property. Check out his Strava art and post-race face below! Well done, Dr. Mark Coates!

5. The best way to explain Al Clavet is INSPIRING. On March 22nd, Al had a brain hemorrhage that nearly took his life. After his life saving operation, he woke up confused and to top it off, in the middle of a global pandemic. It took him 4 months to regain his hearing, sight and begin to remember his life skills again. This experience has given him a whole new perspective on life. He ran his Ottawa Virtual 10K almost 6 months post operation. This quote about his past six months had us tearing up: “Running yesterday felt so amazing, like never before…not the fact that I did it, the fact that I’m still here to be able to do it!… went through hell and had a rough go at rehabilitation, but nothing can stop me now, I feel great at 51 and look forward to many more races, especially the ones against myself…cheers!” Al, congratulations on your race (and so much more)!

READ: Participants in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge 2020 raise over $400K for Ottawa-Gatineau’s local charities

6. We’ve always known the team at Surge Activewear, supplier of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend gear was crafty and dedicated to Run Ottawa’s flagship event. However, this year they went above and beyond to show their love and support for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and its participants. They slid in a message of support into the inside collar of all race t-shirts. A simple message: “We (heart emoji) you”.

That love goes a long way. Check out your t-shirt if you haven’t seen it yet!

7. Sindy Hooper has run race weekend every year since 2007 in numerous distances, ranging from the Ottawa 5k to the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. However, this has not been without obstacles. Sindy has been fighting pancreatic cancer for 8 years while competing in high level athletic events. and she’s winning. The fact that she is still not only running, but alive 8 years later is a miracle. Alongside Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, she has completed the Boston marathon four times and three Ironman Triathlons, one which she did while undergoing chemotherapy. All her training and races are done to raise funding and awareness for pancreatic cancer research at The Ottawa Hospital. Every day she sets out to inspire hope and live a full and appreciative life. We’re cheering for you Sindy!

8. Darrell and his guide dog Amos completed the Ottawa Virtual 5K this past summer. Amos and Darrell have been together for three years thanks to Guiding Eyes for the Blind. They participated in a running guide program and soon enough, they were running together 4-5 mornings a week. They have completed four 5k runs together, one being the 2019 Army Run. In the words of Darrell: “We are a team! He is my BFF and with me 24/7.” This duo makes our heart melt!

Registration is now open for the virtual edition of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2021! New year, new goals start here.