Patrik Lahti: Taking on challenges for the Canadian Cancer Society

Patrik Lahti is no stranger to challenges. In 2016, he placed 9th overall in the inaugural Lumberjack Challenge at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend—a 2-day event which includes the Ottawa 2K, 5K, and 10K on Saturday, and the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon on Sunday, he has run 11 marathons, BQ’d 4 times and owns a speedy personal best of 3:08 for the 42.2K.

“I’ve made Ottawa Marathon a tradition since I ran it the first time in 2013, so 7 times. It’s such a great event, I love it!” 

When Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend announced its intention to go virtual in April of 2020, the Swedish-Canadian was already registered for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon.

I thought a bit about running a ‘virtual marathon’ and it wasn’t long before I realized I simply HAD to do it. These events help raise a lot of important funds for charities. Now that races are cancelled, charities have a hard time compensating. I’ve run for a cause before, but this time it just seems even more important! There are many well deserving charities in these times. For me, the fight against cancer is closest to my heart because it has affected near family and friends.”

But Lahti was not content to just run the marathon. So, he came up with…some incentive.

He put a call out to his network of family, friends and neighbours to throw in some challenges and surprises for him along his marathon route in exchange for a donation to his fundraising campaign for Canadian Cancer Society, an organization within the Scotiabank Charity Challenge. 

“It can be anything you can think of, but keep in mind I’d like to be able to finish this :-)”, noted Lahti in his email to his supporters.

Let’s just say that Lahti has some pretty creative friends. On Sunday, June 14, 7:00 am Lahti set off to do his Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon with FOURTEEN challenges plotted along the course:

Carlington Hill Run

1. Run up Carlington hill fives times

2. Sing the Canadian and Swedish anthems for 1 Km

Rideau swim

3. Swim across the Rideau

4. Organize a Flash mob

5. A buck a bucket (basketball)

6. Strava segment sprint

Beer Chug

7. Chug a beer

8. Swing across monkey bars

POTUS Challenge

9. The POTUS Challenge: Take a selfie in front of a place you’ve never been, holding a book you’ve never read upside down

10. Water balloon fight

Push Up Challenge

11. Push-up challenge

12. Street pictionary


13. Shootout on neighbour ‘Lundqvist’

Eating Challenge

14. The eating challenge

Swedish Line

Challenges accepted and conquered! Lahti managed to complete all the challenges and raise just under $4,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“You know why they all sent him those challenges? They know he’ll do it”, says his wife Elissa, who, along with Lahti’s children, Oskar and Hazel, came up with Challenge #14, which ended with a pie in the face!

“I was really happy to be able to run a marathon this year. And it was special to see so many familiar faces along the route, it wouldn’t have been as awesome without them.”

For the curious, watch the video compilation of ALL the challenges above and you also see a detailed GPS map of Lahti’s Virtual Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon on Strava. You can also give Lahti kudos on his unique race through his fundraising page. Any amount helps in these times.

You too can run in support of a charity in need. 100% of funds raised go directly to the charity. Find out more about the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and make the most of your virtual race experience. 

Scotiabank Charity Challenge