Meet the 2024 Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew!

Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew is a dedicated group of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend runners and walkers who share helpful training experiences, excitement about their upcoming races, and details of their running practice—fundraising tips, yummy food pics, cool routes, and more!

Celebrate 50 years of running in the Nation’s Capital! Be a part of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2024 and run or walk with this year’s Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew! Register now!

Check out our 2024 members below!

Mélanie Brière
Location: Saint-Laurent, QC
Event: Tartan Ottawa International Marathon 
Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew Alumni

In 2016, Mélanie made the decision that would change her life, she started running. If someone had told her back then that she would become an avid runner in her forties, she would have never have believed it!

As Brière approached her fortieth birthday, a realization prompted her to take action. She decided to take her health into her own hands and join a gym. That’s when something unexpected happened, she fell in love with running.

Since then, running has become an essential part of her life. Brière takes part in several events every year. 2024 is shaping up to be an emblematic year. She will be running the Boston Marathon for the first time in April, followed by the Ottawa Tartan International Marathon a few weeks later.

Beyond the kms covered, she gets to meet incredible people full of positive energy and that share a common passion. Today, thanks to running, Brière is a better version of herself. Stronger, more confident, and she has discovered a world that previously seemed inaccessible to her. Running has taught her that age is just a number, and that the opportunities to excel are infinite.

Alison Costa
Location: Ottawa, ON
Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins

Alison Costa has been running for as long as she can remember, starting off as a track sprinter in elementary school and all the way through university. She slowly began increasing her race distances and has now completed five marathons. She hopes to eventually complete all of the World Marathon Majors. Aside from the World Marathon Majors, she loves destination races and exploring new places through running.

For Costa, running is not just about the physical benefits, it also offers her a sense of community. After moving to Ottawa a couple of years ago, she met many amazing people through the running community in the city. Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is one of her favourite weekends of the year as she loves how it brings everyone together. She can’t wait to be out on the course, both racing and cheering this year!

Claudia Fortin-Chollet
Location: Ottawa, ON
Event: Ottawa 5K presented by ASICS Runkeeper

Claudia Fortin-Chollet is a mid-distance runner who is currently recovering from a knee injury. From a young age, she has had the chance to thrive in various sports settings. Her passion for sports, and its mental and physical benefits, are what led her to earn a master’s degree in the field of mental performance at the University of Ottawa in 2022 after completing a bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology in 2019.

Fortin-Chollet started with Tae Kwon Do at age 5 and received her black belt at age 10. She then joined her elementary school’s cross-country team, however soccer, track and field and dance were the sports she competed in while growing up.

Having heard about Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in 2022, she signed up at the last minute after convincing a friend to run the Ottawa 5k presented by ASICS Runkeeper with her. Since crossing the finish line that day she has fallen back in love with running and has been consistently running outdoors, no matter the weather. Fortin-Chollet is pushing herself to become the best athlete and individual she can be while training for the Ottawa 5K presented by ASICS Runkeeper and enjoying being a part of the fantastic running community here in Ottawa!

Dustin Gavin
Location: Ottawa, ON
Event: Tartan Ottawa International Marathon

Dustin Gavin was born and raised in Prince Edward Island, where his lifelong affair with sports began. Running entered his life in 2002, years before he moved to Ottawa in 2008, but it wasn’t until 2012 that he ventured into marathon running. Running is his solace, his mental escape. As the Somerset Runners‘ run lead, aiding fellow runners is his passion.

The upcoming Tartan Ottawa International Marathon will be his 33rd marathon, a testament to his commitment to running and supporting others in their active pursuits.

Bronwyn Knight
Location: Aylmer, QC
Event: Ottawa 17 km Challenge

Bronwyn Knight was born in Muskoka and moved to Ottawa in 2012. Before she began running in 2017, she would tell herself that she would never be someone who woke up at 5:00 am to go running – and look at her now!

Knight got into the racing in 2022 when she impulsively registered for the Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins one week before race day. She loved the challenge of racing and decided to register and complete her  first full marathon in 2023. Joining local run club Aylmer Run Crew has also helped push Knight to rise to new challenges and also opened her eyes to how wonderful, inclusive and friendly the run community is.

When she is not running (or talking about running) Knight enjoys other endurance activities like cycling and swimming and spending time outside with her dog Spike.

She is really looking forward to being part of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew! Support and encouragement helped Knight develop as a runner and she hopes to help others do the same.

Stefanie Kotschwar
Location: Ottawa, ON
Event: Tartan Ottawa International Marathon 

Stefanie Kotschwar started running in 2010 while doing a Masters in Plymouth, England as a way to be outside more often. She ran her first 10K race in 2010 and ran her first marathon in Berlin in 2015!

The same year she ran her first marathon, she also moved to Ottawa and has since discovered the great and varied Ottawa running community and has slowly been embracing running through the winter. Running is what helps keep her grounded and keeps her mind refreshed for her busy day job as a Registered Veterinary Technician.

Kotschwar is looking forward to spending this year as part of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew and sharing all the ups and downs of training for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend during the Ottawa winter!

Vivian Luk 
Location: Ottawa, ON
Event: Ottawa 17 km Challenge
Running in support of the University of Ottawa Heart Institute
Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew Alumni

Vivian Luk is a proud back of the pack runner who believes in maintaining a truly inclusive, accessible, and welcoming running community for all. She thrives on bringing people together, planning fun events for friends and family, and can often be found hanging out with her friends from the Arboretum Hill Club and Mill Street Milers.

During the 2024 racing season, Luk is training for the Ottawa 17K Challenge at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, a 15K trail race in July, and last but not least, her first full marathon in October. 

In 2023, Luk raised over $7,000 for the CHEO Foundation as part of the Desjardins Charity Challenge in memory of her 17-month-old nephew Harrison who passed away in 2022. This year, Vivian’s charity of choice is the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.

Vivian is a huge fan of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and the flurry of excitement it brings to the Nation’s Capital and is excited to share her experience with you as a returning member of the 2024 Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew!

Gunjan Marwah Nichani
Location: North York, ON
Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins

Gunjan Marwah Nichani was born and raised in Waterloo and moved to North York in 2021. After spending most of her life thinking she couldn’t run, it became her passion and hobby in September of 2021. Thanks to local running group We Run North York, she discovered just how far she could push herself and quickly became a group run leader, and eventually an executive. Her goal is to foster inclusive and encouraging running environments for everyone. She is a Peloton enthusiast and enjoys many forms of cross-training. Marwah Nichani also runs with her dog, Mowgli, and has recently discovered the sport of canicross through local group, Cani6ix. 

Marwah Nichani is looking forward to running the Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins in 2024!

Déborah Parent
Location: Ottawa, ON
Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins
Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew Alumni

Déborah Parent is a mother of three, high-school teacher, and military spouse. She started running in 2009, postgrad, to stay physically active and healthy. Little did she know, running would bring her so much more! 

For Parent, running is a quiet place she goes to when life gets too noisy. Just her, the birds, and the tap tap tap of her feet on the pavement. It can also be a loud place where she gets out of her comfort zone, pushes her limits, and grows courage. The perfect place to be by herself, and also the perfect place to be with her friends. Every time Parent and her family were posted somewhere new, running opened the door to new and precious friendships. Ones that helped her grow, and become the person she is today. 

This is Parent’s fourth year living in Ottawa, and she is constantly in awe of the beautiful, welcoming, inclusive, running community here. She is honoured to once again be part of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew and to be sharing her goals, training, and journey for the Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins at our capital’s biggest party of the year, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend!

Chris Rutter
Location: Worthington, Ohio
Event: The Ottawa 59.2 km Challenge

Chris Rutter resides in Worthington, Ohio with his husband Steve and their rescue dog Moira. The three of them can often be found in Canada throughout the year.

His love of running began in 2013 when Rutter took up running as an active way to eliminate the stress of everyday life. He started out by running around his block without stopping, then increasing the distance to one mile, then 5k and so on.

Rutter completed his first full marathon in 2014 and as of today he has completed 12 full marathons including the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon and Berlin in 2023.

The supportive community, the feeling of accomplishment and staying mentally healthy are just a few of the reasons he has fallen in love with running. Rutter is excited to be a part of the 2024 Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew and to be part of the celebration as Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend celebrates 50 years of running in the nation’s capital!

Josué Thervil
Location: Gatineau, QC
Event: Tartan Ottawa International Marathon
Running in support of Ottawa Salus

Josué Thervil is an active father of two boys with an ever growing running shoe collection. This year will be his fourth year participating in the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon.

Thervil is an active member of the local running community and is the founder of Aylmer Run Crew. He prides himself in setting a healthy example for his two children by training for road races and triathlons year round.

He is looking forward to sharing his training for the 2024 Tartan Ottawa International Marathon and being a part of the celebrations this year as a member of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew!

Matthew Timms
Location: Ottawa, ON
Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins
Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew Alumni

Matthew Timms has been running for over a decade and had always thought of himself as more of a solo runner but after getting involved in the Ottawa running community over the past couple of years, he realised how amazing this community can be!

Timms is happiest on the trails but through the great friends he has been lucky to make at run clubs and races, he has learnt that road running has its beauty too!

He is happy to be back with Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew this year and is ready to meet more inspiring runners, rebuild and start his training for the 2024 running season!

Winston To
Location: Ottawa, ON
Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins
Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew Alumni

Winston To moved to Ottawa in October 2020, after growing up in Hong Kong, Toronto and having lived in Australia and across Canada. 

He started long distance running during the pandemic and completed in his first road race in 2022. The 2023 Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins was his first half marathon.

To loves to attend the different local running groups in Ottawa and getting the chance to meet new people. He also enjoys fitness, the outdoors, trying new things and going on adventures. He has played rugby in university, was on the National Development Team in skeleton, and currently competes in lifeguard competitions for fun and is the current President of Triathlon Ontario.

To is looking forward to the 2024 Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins and returning as an alumni member of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew!