Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame Celebrates 45 Years of Ottawa Race Weekend
It all began in 1975, when the first Ottawa Marathon, then known as the National Capital Marathon, brought 146 runners to the start line in what was the largest marathon in Canada at the time.
45 years later, the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon is still the largest marathon in Canada, but now with almost 4,000 runners lining up each year. Meanwhile, the weekend of which it is a part, the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, has become one of the largest and most successful running events in North America, boasting both a Gold IAFF Marathon and one of only four Gold IAFF 10K races in the entire world.
It’s no wonder that the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame has lovingly curated an exhibit dedicated to the event’s history and heritage.
Walk into the “Ottawa Marathon: 45 Years Running” exhibit, and you’re steeped in proud nostalgia. From legendary runners to pioneers in the running community, the exhibit celebrates the milestones that have contributed to the event’s incredible growth while also immortalizing the local Ottawa communities that have given 110% to make race weekend unforgettable each year. It’s a shared history that creates a powerful message: This event is for everyone, and we all share in this success.
Fred Pelletier, a Run Ottawa board member who has been with the organization since 1995, believes in the role of the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame in showcasing the strong relationship between the community and events like the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon.
“Since 1975, we’ve had a marathon that has both contributed richly to the community, but has also received a lot of support from the community. It’s perfect. The two are very well married together,” he says.
One example of paying tribute to the running community is the upcoming May 31st induction of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend Race Director and Run Ottawa President John Halvorsen to the Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame. It’s a moment that has everyone at Run Ottawa feeling incredibly proud, especially Pelletier.
“The happiest moment for me is John Halverson being recognized for his athleticism, and for his course records,” he says, after a moment of reflection. “That was a very happy moment for me and for the other board members.”
For Gavin Lumsden, an Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame Board Member, seeing the exhibit come to fruition was important because of the impact the event has had on our city.
“It’s special when any event lasts 45 years. There are so many moving parts to manage, so to keep and sustain any event for 45 years is amazing,” he says. “What it’s done in terms of generating worldwide attention – because the marathon and the 10K are world class events – it’s great positive attention for Ottawa. Not to mention the million and millions of dollars injected into the local community, and of course the millions that have been raised for local charities.
It’s a great fit for the Hall of Fame to host this 45th Anniversary exhibit.”
Lumsden knows about the power the community brings to race weekend, too. He has been personally involved with race weekend, having run the 5K fifteen years in a row, the marathon 6 times, and the half a few times, too.
“It’s all about the way that it galvanizes the community,” he explains. “The city gets shut down and from the volunteers to the spectators, everyone’s trying to see who can make the most noise and be the most visible. What a beautiful event to bring the whole city together.”
We couldn’t have said it better. This exhibit is for you, Ottawa.
Ottawa Marathon: 45 Years Running in The Ottawa Sport Hall of Fame is located in the Heritage Building at City Hall.