Going the Xtra Mile Crew, a participant story

The Xtra Mile Crew (XMC) is a key part of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. They are a dedicated team of volunteers who offer on-route encouragement to runners who may benefit from a temporary running partner or would like some support to reach the finish line.

This Tartan Ottawa International Marathon participant wishes to remain anonymous, but wanted to share their story.

“I don’t know whether other races have these people, but they are wonderful! They essentially volunteer to run with you for a period of time. I shed tears with each of them for their kindness. I don’t remember their names other than crew member Erin.

With 4km left to go we were joined by one of the Extra Mile Crew and she said she would take us in. She was just perfect. She was also able to tell the medics that I was quite coherent, didn’t appear to be in strange pain (other than expected fatigue) and that I could finish the race. The race supposedly had a seven hour cut off and we were nervous about meeting it. She told us that that applied to people who were obviously unable to finish and that we weren’t going to DNF even if we were a bit longer than the seven hours. Enter another bout of tears when I realized that I was actually going to do it.

At 300 m to go another crew member came to support me as I had slowed down to check in with another runner. She told me she was happy to meet me and that my grandson had been talking about me to all of the Extra Mile Crew members. My grandson wasn’t supposed to be there, but my daughter had driven him up to surprise me.

I stopped and broke down in huge ugly crying about 100 metres from the finish line when I saw my grandson, daughter, and several other family members standing on the overpass. There were probably about 30 Extra Mile Crew members at this point standing in the shade and cheering the last of the runners in. The Extra Mile Crew seemed to know my life story due to my helpful grandson being a chatty kid while waiting for me. The memories of them cheering me on makes me tear up even as I write this. I felt embraced with support. This is the moment I remember the most from my first marathon.”

You can find more information about the Xtra Mile Crew here.