Twelve to Watch at the 2023 Tartan Ottawa International Marathon

After a course record setting day at the 2022 Tartan Ottawa International Marathon, the 2023 edition has a lot to live up to and is setting up to be just as exciting and will certainly not  disappoint road racing fans around the world! The field is loaded with talent from East Africa, the United States, Japan, and competitive Canadian talent. Organizers have already announced a number of exciting athletes including Malindi Elmore (Canada), Parker Stinson (USA), Melat Kejeta (Germany), Sydney Gidabuday (USA), Aidan Reed (USA), and eleven Japanese athletes.

When asked about this year’s marathon field, Dylan Wykes, Elite Athlete Coordinator says, “We’re looking forward to welcoming a diverse and competitive field for the 2023 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. We’re excited to provide racing opportunities to these deserving athletes and are expecting quick times and excellent competition on race day. ”In addition to the world-class athletes mentioned above, here are twelve to watch for in 2023:

Abdi Gelchu (Ethiopia)

Our runner up from last year is back! Abdi Gelchu, 25, Gelchu ran an excellent second half in warm conditions to run 2:09:44 and finish second during his first trip to Canada. Gelchu has run six marathons prior to this year’s edition of the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon, including a personal best of 2:07:15, which he ran in Seville last February. Gelchu returns to Ottawa looking to move one step up on the podium.

Aberu Ayana Mulisa (Ethiopia)

Ethiopians have dominated the women’s race at the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon, winning nine of the last ten editions. Leading this year’s field by personal best is Aberu Ayana Mulisa. Mulisa, 29, has a personal best of 2:21:54. She also has an impressive resume at events around the world, including a second place finish in Seville this past February.

Gebrestsadik Abraha  (Ethiopia)

Fresh off of a personal best of 2:06:08 in Dubai this February, Ethiopia’s Abraha Gebrestsadik will look to challenge for the title at the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon. Gebrestsadik, 32, is a proven competitor and has found success at both the junior and pro ranks. As a U20 athlete, he won the silver medal at the 2010 U20 World Championships in the 10,000m, championships which interestingly enough, were hosted in Moncton, New Brunswick. As a professional, Gebrestsadik has won five career marathons, including Prague in 2017 and Guangzhou in 2019. He has raced in Canada three times. Once in Moncton and twice in Toronto.

Waganesh Mekasha (Ethiopia) 

In addition to Elmore and Kejeta, Maganesh Mekasha makes three “marathon moms” who will be in contention to win the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon. Mekasha, 30, says “my kids are my world.” She also has a personal best of 2:22:45 and has had some impressive performances including 5th place in the 2022 Chicago Marathon.  

Felix Kibitok (Kenya)

Felix Kibitok, 32, is the lone Kenyan male competing in the 2023 Tartan Ottawa International Marathon. Felix has a personal best of 2:06:28,  from his 5th place finish at the 2022 Barcelona Marathon. Felix is a half marathon specialist, where he has run 59:08. He has placed in some of the fastest half marathons in the world including Prague, Milan, and Copenhagen.

Adanech Anbesa (Ethiopia)

Adanech Anbesa, 25, will be looking for her first ever marathon win at the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon. Anbesa is looking to improve on her impressive 4th place performance at last year’s Paris Marathon where she set a personal best of 2:24:07. She has also run one marathon in 2023, where she finished 10th in Mumbai.

Aychew Bantie (Ethiopia)

Aychew Bantie, 28, has a marathon personal best of 2:06:23 which he ran in Prague in 2019. Aychew has been a consistent performer since he set the Ethiopian U20 national record for the marathon in 2017, including a victory at the Hengshui Lake International Marathon in 2019. Aychew will hope to use Ottawa to bounce back from the slowest performance of his career which he ran in January at the Mumbai Marathon. Aychew is known as “the crazy man” in Ethiopia because of how fast he runs in his workouts.

Sarah Pagano (USA)

Sarah Pagano, 31, is the fastest American woman in the field. Pagano has a personal best of 2:32:05 which she ran this spring in Japan. In 2021, Pagano raced to an excellent marathon debut, finishing 8th at the Chicago Marathon in a time of 2:33.

Yihunilign Adane  (Ethiopia)

Adane Yihunilign, 27, has had success in Canada before. ast year, in fact. In 2022, he won the TSC Toronto Waterfront Marathon in a time of 2:07:18. His personal best was also run last year, when Yihunilign won the Barcelona Marathon in a time of 2:05:53. Yihunilign will look to retain his perfect record in Canada when he lines up at the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon.

Ayantu Kumela (Ethiopia)

Ayantu Kumela, 27, will be bringing her 2:24:29 personal best to the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon. The Ethiopian has raced four previous marathons, including a 1st place at the Košice Peace Marathon in 2021 and 2nd at the Barcelona Marathon in 2022. 

Gadisa Shumie (Ethiopia)

Rounding out the African contingent is the athlete with the fastest seed time in the competition: Gadisa Shumie. Shumie, 30, is headed to Ottawa fresh off a big win at the Seville Marathon this past February where he ran his personal best of 2:04:59. In 2022, Shumie also tasted success at the Montreal Marathon. 

Lee Wesselius (Canada)

Lee Wesselius, 29, is the fastest Canadian man in the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon field. Sporting a personal best of 2:16:41 which was run in Indianapolis in 2021, Wesselius was the 3rd Canadian at last year’s TCS Toronto Waterfront Marathon. This spring, he also set a personal best in the half marathon at the Vancouver first half, where he was 2nd to Cam Levins. Last year, Wesselius raced theOttawa 10K presented by Otto’s Ottawa and  finished 5th – before pacing all forty-two kilometres of the marathon the next day.

You can see the full marathon field for the men here and the women here.

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is Canada’s biggest race weekend and will run on May 27-28, 2023. You can learn more and register by visiting

Media relations contact:

Lisa Georges

About Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is Canada’s largest running and walking festival with six races, including the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon, Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins, Ottawa 10K presented by Otto’s Ottawa, Ottawa 5K & Ottawa 2K presented by Runkeeper, and Ottawa Kids Marathon, as well as three multi-event challenges. In 2022, runners and walkers in the event raised a record-breaking $1,067,612.00 for local and national charities through the Desjardins Charity Challenge. The 2023 edition of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend will take place May 27-28.

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is the only running event in Canada to host a World Athletics Elite label marathon, and is host to Athletics Canada’s Canadian 10K Championships. The weekend was named Event of the Year at the 2019 Canadian Tourism Awards, and in 2020, its title sponsor Tamarack Homes won Sport Tourism Canada’s Canadian Sport Event Sponsorship Initiative of the Year Award.

For more information or to register: