Runner of the Month: Roch Courcy

For this month’s Runner of the Month feature we spoke with Team Awesome captain Roch Courcy. Roch ran his first Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend race in 2014 and joined Team Awesome as our francophone captain this year. We asked him about he got started as a runner and why he loves to run in the Ottawa-Gatineau region.

When did you start running?

Officially, March 31, 2014. It may seem odd that I remember the exact date but it’s because in September 2013, a few months after my mother died, I decided to register for the 10K run of the 2014 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend despite never having run before in my life and the fact that I hated cross-country training in high school. I started running with an old pair of shoes. The first three weeks were hard but I kept at it.

Why do you love to run?

I guess you could say because it’s fun. I’m serious. It keeps me in shape and relieves stress, and I get a lot of pleasure out of it. It also helps me organize my thoughts. I’ll spare you the details of everything I think about when I run because that would just take too much time! 😉

Do you prefer to run on the Ontario or Quebec side? Why? ☺

That’s probably the worst question you could ask me! I’m not from around here but I like both Gatineau and Ottawa. I run more on the Gatineau, Quebec, side for logistical reasons—it’s where I live and sometimes I don’t have time to run anywhere else than in my neighbourhood—but I love running in Ottawa, too.

What is your favourite route to run in the Ottawa-Gatineau region?

I love Hurtubise Street in Gatineau but I haven’t gone back there since the heavy flooding in spring 2017. The view of McLaurin Bay is spectacular, regardless of the season. Jacques Cartier Street in Gatineau is not bad either; you can see the Ottawa River and the Rockliff neighbourhood of Ottawa. For short runs over the lunch hour, it’s the Alexandra/Portage Bridge loop.

What has been the greatest running challenge you have faced to date?

I’d say completing my first half-marathon in Toronto in 2016, something I never thought I’d be able to do. (I’ve since completed five of them.) The BIGGEST challenge, though, was definitely the Voyageur Challenge in 2017. Running the 5K race on Saturday afternoon, the 10K on Saturday evening, and then the half‑marathon the next morning was absolutely crazy. It was rough going but I still managed to complete it. It’s something you have to try at least once in your life.

Why did you want to join Team Awesome?

Since I’m on social media pretty much all the time—it’s my job—I thought it would be cool to be an ambassador for my favourite race. I tell everyone that nothing I’ve ever seen beats Ottawa’s cool vibe. I’ve had the pleasure of being part of the Team since it was put together in 2015.

What has been the most memorable moment as Team Awesome captain?

So far, it’s when I realized that Team Awesome 2018 had more French-speaking members than in previous years. I thought it was something we could be proud of.

What is your number one tip for runners preparing for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend?

I was telling you about how fun it was earlier, right? That’s what it’s about. Forget the results, the PBs, etc. Run for the fun of it, with your family, friends, and so on. And here’s some practical advice: book your accommodations early and come to Ottawa ahead of time so you can take advantage of everything the region has to offer!

Want to join Roch and #TeamAwesome2018? Register for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

You can follow Roch on Twitter and Instagram. Learn more about Team Awesome by following #TeamAwesome2018 and #RunOttawa2018 on social media to keep up with their training.