Scotiabank Charity Challenge is back for 2020! Who will you run for?

Every year, thousands of runners and spectators come together to share the experience of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. What started out as a single marathon in the National Capital Region in 1976 (with a mere 146 runners) has grown into a full-weekend-long immersive experience: races with a range of distances to suit any kind of athlete, an engaging Health and Fitness Expo, a Kids 1K race, food vendors, live music, and perhaps most importantly, one of the most powerful fundraising initiatives in all of Canada. 

What is the Scotiabank Charity Challenge?

Scotiabank started this unique fundraising program in 2003, and now it’s a vital component at six major Canadian marathon and road race events in Ottawa, Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax.

The idea is simple: by running for a charity or non-profit organization, participants can make running the race of their choice more meaningful. By contributing to the causes they care about most through fundraising, each runner has a direct positive impact on their community – and a personal connection with their race that transcends achieving a personal best, or the medal waiting for them at the end of the course.

For charities, it’s all about bringing people together and encouraging a friendly fundraising competition. By recruiting runners, growing a team, sharing their vision, and building camaraderie, these organizations get to have fun and compete for the invaluable funding that helps them serve the communities and populations that need them most. Oh, and bragging rights too, of course.
Who will you run with

Raising money at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

As soon as you register for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, in any distance or race, you can start fundraising for the charity near and dear to your heart. You may find your charity of choice has already been registered, or you may want to fundraise for a charity not yet on the list. If that’s the case, reach out to the charity you want to support, and have them register to get on the official Scotiabank Charity Challenge list before April 1st, 2020. 

A good way to get the word out that you are running for a charity is to shout it from the rooftops with a megaphone! Just kidding. 

Scotiabank did some research and found that for both charities and individual runners, using email to reach out to your network of contacts worked best, as 72% of donations came in from email links. Social media is another good way to communicate your fundraising goals – make sure you tag @OttawaMarathon on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, and we’ll help you get the word out, too. 

2019 Success Stories

In 2019, 32,000 registered runners were wildly successful in raising funds for local charities, raising more than $800,000 – the most money raised per runner than ever!


2019 32,000



33,000 $775,000
2017 43,148


2016 46,940


In addition to providing a free fundraising platform for all participating charities to use and covering all the transaction and service fees, Scotiabank challenges local charities to finish strong by awarding close to $25,000 in additional prizing for Charity Challenge category leaders.

In 2019, there were over 70 charities included in the 2019 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend Scotiabank Charity Challenge, and nine came out on top in three challenge categories – let’s take a closer look.

Teams Who Raised the Most Money

1st Place in this category went to an organization well known and loved in the National Capital Region, The Ottawa Hospital Foundation (OHF). The OHF provides care and treatment to cancer patients, and uses the money raised at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend to fund research, and purchase cutting edge equipment to pursue better treatment and cures for cancer. 

2nd Place went to OCISO (Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization)s Run For A New Start team. OCISO supports immigrants and newcomers to Canada with a diverse set of programs that focus on settlement, housing, integration, counselling, employment, and language training.

In 3rd Place was the renowned Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health whose works to assist individuals with mental illness and addiction, combining mental health care, advocacy, research, and education to those with complex and treatment-resistant mental illness.

Teams Who Recruited the Most Runners

1st Place with the biggest team was the uOttawa Heart Institute Foundation, an independent organization that raises funds and channels community support for the University of Ottawa Heart Institute which seeks to eliminate heart disease through research. Heart disease will affect 1 in 3 Canadians in their lifetime. 


uOttawa Heart Institute Foundation

In 2nd Place, the Canadian Cancer Society brought out a ton of runners, too. This national community-based organization is committed to advocating for and supporting Canadians living with cancer, and to improving and saving lives through prevention and treatment.

Not to be outdone, Ausome Ottawa took 3rd place! A registered charity dedicated to enriching the lives of children with autism through sport and recreation, Ausome Ottawa provides opportunities for kids and their families to participate in sports that meet their specific needs. 

Highest Average Amount Raised per Runner

At 1st Place with the most high-achieving fundraising team members was Cystic Fibrosis Canada. This a national, charitable not-for-profit is committed to finding a cure for cystic fibrosis, funding both research and care. 

In 2nd Place, we have the wonderful Camp Misquah! An Ottawa-based non-profit summer camp for adults and children with special needs, Camp Misquah has been providing special residential camping experiences for over 50 years.

Another important charitable organization in 3rd Place, Lung Cancer Canada serves as Canada’s leading resource for lung cancer education, patient support, research and advocacy. Started in 2002, they also work to increase public awareness to help reduce the number of Canadians that suffer with preventable lung cancer each year.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at the charities onboard for 2020! No matter which you choose, your race and your fundraising efforts will help shape the lives of Canadians for years to come. Get started by registering for #RunOttawa2020 today!

Register for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2020