Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2019 Highlights – A Running Year in Review

Sometimes it feels like the year goes by so quickly that you can’t remember what has happened, but that wasn’t the case for our team at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. 2019 was an exciting, fast-paced year that we aren’t likely to forget, in fact, it’s something we want to celebrate!

As we get ready to ring in 2020 and all the joys that come with it, we wanted to share what we consider nine of our big successes from 2019 as well as a few from the past decade with you – because you, dear runners, played a crucial part in all of it.

We’d love to share in your 2019 and decade-long running memories too – so share them with us @OttawaMarathon on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

     1. 45 Years Running

2019 marked the 45th anniversary of the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon – and we couldn’t be happier with where we are today. What started as 42.2K race with 146 runners in 1975 has grown into a multi-event race which draws tens of thousands of runners onto Ottawa’s streets every spring. Many things have changed in running over 45 years – its more popular and accessible, the clothing (and shoes!) have become more technical – but one thing that hasn’t faded our runner’s energy and Ottawa’s enthusiastic crowds.

This photo from the first marathon in 1975 is excellent proof!

Runners crossing the 1975 Ottawa Marathon finish lineWe were honoured to mark 45 years of running in the national capital with an exhibit dedicated to Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend at the City of Ottawa’s Sports Hall of Fame.

2. A Change in Direction

As we ramped up to celebrate our 45th anniversary, it was announced that our Race Director John Halvorsen would be inducted into the City of Ottawa Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements as a runner and commitment to sport in Ottawa. On May 31, Halvorsen joined Chantal Benoit, Chris Phillips, Rick Desclouds, John Halvorsen, along with the 1968 and 1969 Ottawa Rough Riders as the 2019 inductees.

While we were celebrating our race director and getting ready for another race, we got another surprising piece of news, after nearly a decade of service, Halvorsen would step down as Race Director after our 2019 event. As we wondered who would take his place, our expert Board of Directors began the hiring process and in September 2019, we announced the Ian Fraser was stepping up to the challenge. Fraser’s been at the helm for three months and we can’t wait to start a new decade running in Ottawa with him.

     3. Two New Events

While it’s hard to say goodbye to things, it’s always a pleasure to say hello, and this year we announced two new exciting events for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2020! Under the direction of Fraser we introduced a Marathon Relay – which means you and a friend can split the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in two to complete the full course – and the Bytown Challenge – where you run a cool 17K in one day over the course of three races. We’ve got some sweet new little add-ons to these to come in 2020 so stay tuned as we announce the details!

     4. Visit to the ChiAyi Alishan Marathon in Taiwan

In 2018 and 2019, we worked closely with the ChiAyi Alishan Marathon to provide them with insight on developing an internationally recognised road racing event. We were excited when their management team visited us in 2018, but even more exciting was our visit to ChiAyi to see how they manage their event. We learned so much from each other through this cultural and event management exchange. Thanks to the team for working with us!

     5. Welcome to the Abbott World Marathon Majors Wanda Age Group World Championships

Krista Duchene came in first place for the Abbott World Marathon Majors Wanda Age Group World Championships

2019 Ottawa Marathon
Ottawa, Ca May 26, 2019
Photo: Victah Sailer@PhotoRun

We believe that running is for everyone which is why we were excited be one of the qualifying races for the inaugural Abbott World Marathon Majors (AbbottWMM) Wanda Age Group World Championships. This championship event officially launched in 2019 to recognise and celebrate the achievements of runners aged 40+. All runners in the qualifying races are invited to register in the Wanda Age Group World Championships point system and to compete at the championship race in London 2020. In 2019, 1,649 runners qualified at our race and Canadian elite runner Krista Duchene came in first place – tying her for first place in the Wanda Age Group ranking system!

We look forward to seeing the results from the championship race in 2020 and to participating next year!

     6. Outstanding Elite Runners Make it in Ottawa!

Speaking of Krista Duchene, she was just one of the amazing Canadian elites to compete in the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. In 2019, Duchene took second place in the Canadian women’s elite field, coming in at 2:38:46, just a minute behind first place finisher, Dayna Pidhoreski who ran it in 2:37:19. The Canadian men did equally well on course, with Reid Coolsaet taking first place and Alister Gardner coming in second.

Since 20XX, the Ottawa 10K has been host to the Canadian 10K Championships which means the best Canadians in the field come to compete on our streets. This year Natasha Wodak came first in the women’s field and local elite runner, Dylan Wykes came first in the men’s field.  What’s more is that in the summer of 2019, Wykes agreed to join the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend team as the coordinator of the elite field. This means he’ll oversee our IAAF Gold Label marathon athletes in 2020, as well as the Canadian elites participating in the marathon and 10K. Applications are now open!

Want to know how our international elite field fared? Check out our recap of the 2019 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon and Ottawa 10K.

     7. Ottawa Runners Win for Charity

Ottawa runners participated in the Scotiabank Charity Challenge

Since 2014 when, Scotiabank came on as a sponsor for our marathon events and the Scotiabank Charity Challenge, Ottawa runners have been showing how much they care for the work of local non-profits. In 2019, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend runners raised $804,258 – the most money raised per runner ever! This fundraising total comes close behind our biggest fundraising year ever – in 2017 our runners raise $846,844.

With 42 charities already registered and over $10,000 raised so far, we’re already looking ahead to the 2020 Scotiabank Charity Challenge. Find out how you can donate to a participating charity or runner and how to become a participating charity.

     8. Strengthening our Event with New Partnerships

Organising a running event is a lot like organising a party – which is why we describe our event as Canada’s biggest running party! – and every year we keep growing and strengthening the team of sponsors and partners who make it possible. Over the last decade we have gained many new amazing partners, such as Scotiabank, Nuun hydration, xact nutrition, Kichesippi Beer and Mad Radish, while also retaining some of our oldest partners – including Tamarack Homes, the Ottawa Marriott, Saucony, iRun and the Running Room. This year we were excited to add two new partners to the roster who are making our event more accessible. In spring 2019, Lyft came on as our rideshare partner to help our runners get around Ottawa, and this fall we have partnered with Resiada to ensure that our runners have the best accommodations in town with several different budget options.

What does 2020 hold for our growing team of running party organizers? We can’t wait to show you!

     9. A Capital Tourism Event

Runners line up for the Ottawa 10K in Canada's capitalIf you live in Ottawa or have ever visited – you know how wonderful it is to spend time here, especially when the sun comes around. We’ve been saying it for years, Ottawa is a perfect tourism destination for every kind of traveler, we’ve got great museums, delicious restaurants and craft beer, plenty of greenspace to explore, and fantastic festivals and events happening year-round. This year we were super excited to represent Ottawa on the national stage as we won Event of the Year at the 2019 Canadian Tourism Awards. We hope you will help us keep making this event amazing as we move into 2020!

The new year is on the horizon and we’re setting our resolutions and running goals, if you are too it’s not too early to set your set them in motion – get started by registering for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend today.

Register for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2020