Who is the 2023 Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew?

Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew is a dedicated group of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend runners and walkers who share helpful training experiences, excitement about their upcoming races, and details of their running practice—fundraising tips, yummy food pics, cool routes, and more!

Check out our 2023 members below!

Mélanie Brière Saint-Laurent, QC

Event: Tartan Ottawa International Marathon

Seven years ago, Mélanie joined a gym to lose weight and take control of her health. She was smoking and was not very active. With the help of a coach, she worked hard to run her first 10km and discovered running was her passion! Running has improved her quality of life and her self-esteem. She participates in several races per year and they help to keep her motivated. Mélanie loves the festive atmosphere of organized races. For her, there is nothing like the feeling of accomplishment when she crosses the finish line after months of training. Her favourite distance is the marathon. She also enjoys trail running and is always up for a new challenge.

Eniola Busari Toronto, ON

Event: Tartan Ottawa International Marathon

Running in support of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health

As a passionate and dedicated runner, Eniola believes in the importance of hard work, commitment and consistency in order to achieve his goals, and he uses this same philosophy to help him tackle all of his other goals in life. 

He started running alone in 2020 during the pandemic. His love for running was solidified when he began running with the Me vs Me Mentality running group.

Eniola feels he has become a better runner and person in life through running and he is constantly inspired by the running community. He recently completed a life changing 650K ultra relay race and will be looking to the running community and his fellow Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew members for inspiration as he prepares to train for and run his first marathon, the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon.

Kristel Gauthier Ottawa, ON

Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins

Running in support of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health

2022 Power Crew Alumni

A Run Ottawa member and mother of three, Kristel is currently training for the Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins this spring. She wrapped up her 2022 fall racing season by finally achieving her goal of qualifying for the 2024 Boston Marathon and surprising herself with a 5K pb along the way. She is a long time runner with K2J Fitness, the Arboretum Hill Club and Mill Street Milers where she has met many incredible people who have now become her closest friends. 

Kristel is a dedicated advocate for mental health and openly shares her personal journey with bipolar disorder. Running has and continues to play such an important role in her recovery, and she hopes to inspire others to share their stories too. 

Chris Huddleston Ottawa, ON

Event: Ottawa 17K Challenge

2022 Power Crew Almuni

Chris has been running in sports most of his life, but his first two races were the Canada Army Run in 2012 and Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in 2013, where he really got into racing!

More recently, Chris has been getting involved in local running groups, finding the great social side of the sport. He believes the running community in Ottawa is so much fun and he has learned so much by talking with others who are also passionate about running. The running community is such a diverse group of people and he feels it’s fun to meet new runners and get different perspectives.

For Chris, running is a mixture of physical health, mental wellbeing, a love of getting outdoors, and the drive to compete and develop into a better runner. Chris wants to be able to model all of these things to his two teenagers.

He is excited to be a part of this year’s Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew and sharing his journey tackling the Ottawa 17K Challenge!

Stephanie Leyland Ottawa, ON

Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins

Stephanie grew up in Ottawa as a competitive dancer. Running had always been part of other activities she participated in on the side, but never something she thought about doing solely on its own. 

Her take on running drastically changed after running her first 10K race in 2016. The sense of community she felt was similar to that of how she spent her childhood at the dance studio and she knew this was something she couldn’t get enough of. It took a mere two years to be convinced to run a marathon and now Stephanie has completed six. Her goal of qualifying for Boston is alive and well, and she is hopeful to achieve it in the coming year. 

Stephanie is excited to be part of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew and cannot wait to share her journey with other runners. Her mantra: If you can believe it, you can achieve it.

Vivian Luk Ottawa, ON

Event: Ottawa 17K Challenge

Running in support of CHEO

Vivian ran her first 5K race in 2012. Since then, she’s ran numerous 5K and 10K races, and has completed a half marathon. Unfortunately, after suffering a knee injury, she was forced to take several years off from running. Instead, she focused her energy on her love for volleyball, spinning, and weight training – but the idea of running again was always at the back of her mind.

During the pandemic, Vivian discovered the Arboretum Hill Club where she found the perfect trifecta of movement, the outdoors, and a sense of community. Surrounded by Ottawa’s amazing active community, this is where she re-discovered her passion for running.

Vivian loves the energy and electricity that Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend brings to the Nation’s Capital. That’s why she can’t wait to take you along on her journey to ‘learn to run again’ while she trains for the Ottawa 17K Challenge. Her goal is not to PB but simply to be brave enough to get to the start line and cross that finish line with a smile! Vivian can’t wait to share both her experiences as a runner and a cheerleader as a member of the 2023 Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew!

Déborah Parent Ottawa, ON

Event: Tartan Ottawa International Marathon

2022 Power Crew Almuni

Déborah started running back in 2009 and it has been a wild journey for her ever since. Running accompanied her when she started her teaching career, when she married a member of the military, had her first child, moved due to her spouse being posted, had her second child, moved again, had baby number three and moved once more. 

For Déborah, running is a calm place where she can be alone with her thoughts, and connect with herself (the part of her that sometimes gets lost among the mother, the employee, and wife). Many times, it’s how she made friends when moving to a new place and to this day, it’s how she stays connected with them. She loves how running makes her feel joyful and energetic. 

Becoming a marathoner at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend last year was a dream come true. This year, she is back again for the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon, and as part of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew, she will be sharing her journey to finishing with a smile!

Kristin Paterson Ottawa, ON

Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins

2022 Power Crew Almuni

Kristin was not interested in sports or very active growing up. It wasn’t until she was in her early thirties and had four small kids that she gave running a try. She really wanted to lose the weight she had gained during her pregnancies, and felt that the fresh air and time to herself would help to clear her mind. To her, running seemed like a good fit and it didn’t take long before running became so much more! Kristin ran her first road race at the Great Big Cookie run in November 2018 and it changed her instantly! Since then she has ran two marathons, two half marathons and multiple 5K and 10K events. Running makes her feel happy, strong, challenged and calm. Kristin runs because it brings her joy!

Kristin believes Ottawa has the greatest, most supportive running community you’ll ever meet! She is so grateful to be a part of it and she is honoured to be a part of the 2023 Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew! Kristin looks forward to sharing her half marathon training journey as she chases a new PR! 

Jessika Pepin St-Jean- sur-richelieu QC

Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins

Jessika discovered running in 2017, she wanted to get back in shape after becoming a mom. In 2018, she signed up for her first half marathon, with the goal of completing it. She managed, to her amazement, to do it in 2:30! Afterwards, she discovered running was her passion. Last year, she convinced her friend to participate in her first half marathon and the two of them will be completing the Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins together this spring. Jessika loves to motivate others to get moving. Her mantra: We’re keeping healthy one mile at a time!

Alana Prud’homme Ottawa, ON

Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins

Alana began her running journey in 1998 at a 1.2K Fun Run on Canada Day. She has participated on and off in running events since then, including the Great Wall Half Marathon in 2016, but running as a hobby finally stuck in 2017 when she moved back to Ottawa after a few years abroad, and was quickly inducted into the amazing Ottawa running community. Now having built a social network around running and fitness, you can find Alana out multiple days a week with various local run or fitness crews! 

In the past few years, a love of trail running has led her to participate in multiple trail events, and help organize a local trail running group. But even as the trails call, she still can’t miss the hometown energy of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend! Alana is excited to be a part of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew and can’t wait to shine a spotlight on the local running community!

Tracy Shouldice Ottawa, ON

Event: Ottawa 10K presented by Otto’s Ottawa

Running in support of the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health

2022 Power Crew Alumni

Tracy has been a Run Ottawa member since 2010, and was a Director on the Run Ottawa Board from 2019 to 2022. He uses his passion for running to raise awareness and funding for worthwhile causes and since 2017, he has raised thousands of dollars for the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. When not running – or talking about running – Tracy is often found pairing his favourite carbs with coffee (the stronger the better) or beer (again, the stronger the better). 

He looks forward to sharing his journey toward the Ottawa 10k presented by Otto’s Ottawa, and seeing everyone at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2023!

Nadya Stewart Barrie, ON

Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins

2022 Power Crew Alumni

Nadya started running in 2011 during a particularly difficult time in her life, just to see if it was something she could actually excel at. After a lot of on and off running throughout the years, Nadya has been back running consistently since early 2019, about a year and a half after having her first child. Towards the end of 2019, Nadya had two miscarriages. That devastating time in her life brought her to a charity called Bridget’s Bunnies, which holds the annual ”Bridget’s Run”, a run for pregnancy and infant loss awareness. The comfort and warmth that was felt by participating in that run really showed Nadya just how amazing this running community can be and she has been sharing her love for running and her running journey ever since.

In the last few years, Nadya has participated in a handful of 5Ks and 10Ks and ran her first in-person half marathon at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2022. She is back this year older and slightly wiser, excited to be part of the Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew and ready to give the Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins another go! 

Lisa Sun Toronto, ON

Event: Tartan Ottawa International Marathon

Lisa was born in South Africa and currently lives in Toronto where she runs and trains with the We Run North York run crew. Her favourite things about running are the inspiring people she’s met, the wonderful friends she’s made, and the awesome running community. 

It was never on her radar to run a marathon but since joining the WRNY run crew she has completed six marathons and one ultra marathon! When she’s not racing she’s out cheering or volunteering at races and events.

The Tartan Ottawa International Marathon will be Lisa’s third race in Ottawa and her second time running the marathon. She loves the scenic course and amazing atmosphere of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and can’t wait to share her training journey as part of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew!

Matthew Timms Ottawa, ON

Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins

Matthew is originally from London, England and moved to Ottawa in 2016. He lives here with his wife and two cats and works as a 2DFX animator, making fun TV shows for Disney and Netflix.

Matthew has been running for over a decade. In the UK, he ran numerous half marathons and completed one marathon. After moving to Ottawa, running reminded him of home and during a difficult time when his mum was battling cancer, he couldn’t bear to go running, it was too difficult and he stopped for a few years. After working through the grief of losing his mother, Matthew decided that he was ready to become a runner again and has since fallen back in love with the sport. He rebooted his running journey in 2021, started seeing a dedicated running physio and built himself back up from the classic 1 minute on 1 minute off to start, he is currently running up to half marathon distances.

Matthew thinks it’s been amazing getting to know the running community in Ottawa. He is pretty new to the community but has already met so many great people. He often runs with West Ottawa Run Club, K2J and the Ottawa Trail Crew.

Most of the year you can find him getting ‘run lost’ cruising the greenbelt or numerous pathways here in Ottawa. He is looking forward to sharing his preparation for the Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins and all the fun and excitement of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend by being a part of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew!

Winston To Ottawa, ON

Event: Ottawa Half Marathon presented by Desjardins

Winston has been living in Ottawa for two years after growing up in Hong Kong and Toronto. He gained sprinting experience by playing rugby at the University of Windsor, but began running longer distances during the pandemic.

Winston can now run up to a half marathon distance without stopping and completed in his first road race at Tamarack Ottawa Race weekend last year, the Ottawa 10K presented by Otto’s Ottawa.

He loves fitness, the outdoors, is always up for trying new things and going on new adventures. He is the current Canadian beach flags champion in Lifesaving Sport and was part of the Canadian National Development Team for Skeleton. 

He looks forward to being part of this year’s Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew!

Karolina Tomaszewska Toronto, ON

Event: Ottawa 10K presented by Otto’s Ottawa

Karolina is an adventure enthusiast living in downtown Toronto. She took up running in 2016 when a friend asked her to be on a team of women that would run the entirety of the Bruce Trail as an end-to-end relay. She continued running and completed her first half marathon in the fall of 2017. Fast forward a couple of years and Karolina is gearing up to run her first full marathon in Berlin this fall. She continues to run through all seasons and uses running as a form of exploration. It can be graffiti-covered alleys one day, urban trails and forests the next day. 

In addition to running, Karolina is keen to explore a variety of movement and somatic practices in and around the city. Cycling, pilates, kitchen dancing, neighborhood strolls; it’s all fair game in the name of movement. 

Join Karolina as she shares her training journey leading up to Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Follow her adventure runs, crew runs, art runs, or just runs for snacks, because they are all part of the training process. Karolina loves mingling and looks forward to engaging with fellow racers, online and in real life as part of Otto’s Ottawa Power Crew so make sure to say hi!