First-time Race Weekend jitters? Don’t worry – you’ll fit right in!

Now that you’ve signed up for your first race (or if you’re still considering it), you might be wondering whether you’ll really belong at the starting line with the other runners. If you’re feeling that way, don’t worry – you’re not alone.

David Harding, who coaches the marathon and half-marathon groups for the Ottawa Running Club and provides personal training for endurance athletes through his company, DEKK Coaching, says that one of the most common misconceptions about the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is that it’s all about the elite runners at the front of the race.

The truth? It’s about a lot more than that.

“Race Weekend is for everyone,” says Harding. “It’s for everyday runners, first-time runners, even families running or walking together.”

For many of those runners, from first-timers to repeat racers, the numbers on the clock are the furthest things from their minds when they line up to race. To them, it’s not about how good a time they run – it’s about how great a time they have!

In fact, what many participants find most memorable about the experience are the sights, the cheering spectators, and the opportunity to visit with friends and meet new people. Many first-time runners are surprised that crowds cheer just as loud, if not louder, for them as for the elites.

No matter what you’re hoping to get out of your race, the most important thing to know is that you belong here.

“If you’ve laced up and put the training in, whether it’s for the 5K, 10K all the way up to the full marathon, then you belong at the starting line just as much as anybody else there,” says Harding. “You’re going to have a great experience and have lots of fun.”

See? There’s nothing to fear. So keep your chin up and your training going – May 27/28 will be here before you know it!

Haven’t signed up yet? No problem – there is still space on the starting line.

Check back soon for the next article in this first-time running series: How to stay motivated with your training.