One to watch: Run Ottawa member Alexandra Hynes

Run Ottawa member Alexandra Hynes started running in high school, moved to Ottawa in 2002 where she took a hiatus for several years then picked it back up again slowly in 2009, starting with a 10k then did her first full during Ottawa Race Weekend in 2012 – and qualified for Boston.

When we asked Alex the following questions, she had just placed 5th at Around the Bay with a smokin’ fast time of 01:59:50.5. Then, on April 16, she stepped up to the start-line in Hopkinton, MA with an ambitious goal of a sub 3-hour Boston Marathon. She finished with a time of 2:56:45, 47th female!

Why does Alex run? What’s her favourite speed workout? Read her answers to these questions and more below—her enthusiasm for running and camaraderie is sure to inspire you as it does us! Thanks for being a member of Run Ottawa, Alex!

Was this your first ATB? I ran it last year in a time of 2:11:17, it was a great experience with 5 new-ish friends that I had never taken a road trip with before!

Did you have a goal for ATB? I honestly wasn’t even thinking I was going to run. I went down to support a friend as he is gearing up for Cornwall Marathon. The day before the race, I was at the expo and about 30 minutes before closing, I made a call out to people I know on facebook to see if anyone had a bib up for grabs. I got one last minute, and decided to run it with my friend, we were going to take it moderately easy and practice marathon pace, so my goal was around 2:05ish.

What did you learn from the experience? I learned that Hamilton is windy but ultimately that nothing beats running alongside a friend.

What was a memorable moment from the race experience? I used to run races solo, but feel so lucky to have experienced this race alongside my friend, not unlike the Hypothermic Half I had done earlier this month. Whether it is during a race or a training run, the synergy among friends continues to help me grow into a better, stronger and smarter athlete.  

Why you run: Many reasons, and it changes depending on what is going on with my life, sometimes it is to be alone with my thoughts, sometimes it is to socialize, sometimes it is because I am grateful that I can, and more recently it is to see what the best version of me can do.  

Race distance of choice: I would say the half-marathon is probably my first love, but this season is the first time I have truly invested in a training plan so maybe marathons will be my true love!


  • 5k: 18:34 2017-10-05
  • 10k: 38:00 (but really 37:59.3) 2018-01-14
  • Half: 1:22:00 (but really 1:21:59.5) 2018-03-03
  • 30K: 1:59:46 2018-03-25
  • Full: 3:08:54 2017-10-22

Favourite running route: I love running along the canal – it is always so nice to see such familiar smiling faces!

Favourite speed workout: Because I am training for a marathon, I love ones which incorporate marathon race pace after several kms on tired legs.  My buddy Hugh has made me a training plan and a sample of one that I have a love-hate relationship with includes 9km ‘easy’ – 5 x (3mins at interval pace / 2 minutes rest) then 4 x (1 min at repetition pace / 2 minute rest) finishing with 5km easy.

Favourite Run Ottawa race: I love Émilie’s Run for several reasons. I was first introduced to the race by Ken Parker (running coach) when I joined the OAC Racing Team in 2016. He originally started the race in 2005 as a women’s only race, to allow elite women to set the leading times, I really like what this represents. This race also holds a special place in my heart because it honours the memory of Émilie Mondor who was the first Canadian woman to run a 5k under 15 minutes, while I never knew her, her determination and drive continues to inspire girls and women of all ages, including me.  

I also love the Race Weekend experience. Two years ago I was a guide during the 10k race and then raced the half the following day. I now usually stick to the half but always make it a priority to cheer on the 5k and 10k, usually around Pretoria Bridge!

Favourite piece of running gear or your running shoe of choice:

Honestly, and this probably sounds bad, I will usually buy whichever shoe is on sale, my friends call me fiscally responsible (or some other variation).

Favourite running memory: I would have to say ATB this year was quite memorable, because of who I ran with, the conversations along the way, how it was executed and how good I felt afterwards!

Favourite quote or mantra: I have a few that I will pull from depending on how I’m feeling along the race/run. It can be a lot of positive talk such as “someone’s going to do it, why not you” to channeling the energy or someone stronger than me (e.g. people I care about who are going through difficult times, yet still push through) and as silly as “run faster, a bear is chasing you” – that one works best when trail running.

Goals: Sub 3h marathon hopefully at Boston! (SEE INTRO!)