Team Awesome 2020

What is Team Awesome?

Team Awesome is a group of enthusiastic runners (and social media fanatics) who are participating in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and want to share updates about their training and race weekend information, as well as support other runners along the way.

Check out our 2020 members below!

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Diego Alcubierre | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Diego Alcubierre

For Diego, running is like a meditation. It’s his time alone, when ideas flow, and when he solves problems or issues in his life.

He has been running and doing sports all his life. From basketball and football in high school and college to rugby, triathlon, duathlon, CrossFit, and competitive running in the last 10 years, Diego is a fitness junkie.

He likes to lead by example, and one of his primary goals is to be a role model for his daughter and son and to inspire others to pursue their dreams.

Some of his best running accomplishments are: Qualified to the Boston Marathon in his first marathon, finished 15th in the Duathlon World Championships in Penticton, Canada, 5th overall and 1st place Age-Group in Nashville Half Marathon 2019, and has a Guinness World Record for the fastest marathon dressed as a tennis player.

Diego looks forward to sharing his running journey as part of Team Awesome. 

Marc Antoine Sauvé | Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon

Marc Antoine Sauvé

Picture it, it’s fall 2011. A colleague challenges Marc, “Who’s coming to run the Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon?”

“ME!” Marc answers. Inside, his inner doubts reminds him that he hates running, but he chooses to listen to a different inner voice instead. Fighting back the uncertainty, he begins to run: in the wind, under the sun, long, short, to let off steam, with doubts, to re-energize, in tourist mode, on the road, in the trails, in a straight line or in circles. He always runs with the same goal: to finish with a smile.

Running helped Marc Antoine clear his head when he was looking for a meaning in his life. His running is also lived in his work as one of the organizers of the student race club at his school. Giving students the opportunity to run is a privilege. Running is also lived with his entourage, his spouse, his family, his friends that follow in his footsteps. Why not you too? Because you can.

Run for yourself, to inspire, to breathe. In Ottawa, 30,000 runners will do that together. Because people are awesome!  

Michelle Baird | Ottawa 10K

Michelle Baird

Michelle was born and raised in Toronto and came to Ottawa in 1997 where she fell in love with both the city and running. 

Over the past 10 years Michelle has become an experienced runner, running multiple distances including 5K, 10K, half marathon and five marathons. She has also found a love for challenge races and began running them at Disney World where she completed the Dopey Challenge in 2018! 

Michelle loves to inspire and encourage other people to run and within the past few years has had her daughter running more races with her. 

Michelle has lots in store for 2020 including the Disney Star Wars Rival Run Challenge in April and the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 10K with her daughter for the second year. She is also hoping to run the Chicago Marathon if accepted.  She is very excited to be a part of the Team Awesome this year!!!

Stephen Bierbrier | Ottawa 5K

Stephen Bierbrier

Stephen still doesn’t consider himself a runner, yet he leads run clubs and actively participates in Ottawa’s vibrant running community. Running and racing since 2015, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend (TORW) is one of his fitness and wellness passion projects.

Stephen loves the way that running brings humans – all ages, paces, fitness levels, backgrounds – together with ease. A common goal is infinitely more achievable with support, love, smiles, hugs and high fives. If Stephen cannot convince you to join TORW as a runner (we got ya!), he is going to “wow” you with the opportunity to be a part of his cheer squad that will blow your minds.

Stephen cannot wait to see you out on the pathways and trails, at run clubs and at community run events as you train for TORW 2020. Want to join Stephen’s cheer squad? Just reach out and say hi!

Catherine Cimon-Paquet | Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon

Catherine Cimon-Paquet

Catherine started running in 2012. That is when she became passionate about running. While sharing her journey on Instagram, Catherine discovered a running community in Ottawa, where she grew up, and in Montréal, her current home. The running community inspired her to pursue her goals, and she ran her first marathon in 2018. Catherine loves to share her tips and journey on social media. She thinks that through these platforms, it is possible to encourage and inspire people to move and live a healthy life!

Catherine is honored to be a part of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend’s #TeamAwesome and
hopes to inspire you to choose your own goals and run this beautiful race this year!

Max Cristin | Voyageur Challenge

Max Cristin

Originally from Italy, Max has been living in Canada for the last 20 years. He initially became interested in running back in high school, where he competed in the 100m and 200m track. After a long break, he began running again in 2015 as a means of improving his physical health and manage stress. In the last four years he has completed 4 marathons, over 15 half marathons and a number of 10k and 5k events.

You can usually find him running around Barrhaven or on the Trans Canada Trail in Kanata. He enjoys sharing his passion for running on social media so after following and being inspired by many #TeamAwesome members, he decided to join the team this year. He will be participating in the Voyageur Challenge in the 2020 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Kyle Dowd | Voyageur Challenge

Kyle Dowd

Kyle has always sought out ways to stay active and improve his fitness. Though he was a frequent runner during his time in the military, he only found his real passion for it in the last few years. In 2018, he set a goal to complete a 5k race with 60lbs on his back in under 30 minutes; a goal he accomplished at Run for Women in 2019. Kyle finished 10 races in 2019, including a Mud Hero, 4 Super Sprint Triathlons and the Army Run Normandy Challenge.

Learning about its reach and its impact on others by promoting positive health and fitness changes is what inspired Kyle to join Team Awesome 2020. This goes to the core of what Kyle does in his role as Co-Chair for Special Olympics Ontario – Greater Ottawa. He has the pleasure of being on the team with his Co-Chair Lindsay McPhee.

Special Olympics is focused on enriching the lives of individuals of all ages with an intellectual disability through the power of sport. The first value of Special Olympics Ontario is empowerment and, through Team Awesome, Kyle is looking forward to empowering others on their running journey to find the same joy he has in the sport. 

Jean-François Duquette | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Jean-François Duquette

In his thirties and a father of three, Jean-François is an accomplished athlete and fan of barefoot running, having participated in Ironman, marathons and ultramarathons from 2016 to 2019.

In 2014, Jean-François lined up for his first official race at the Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon, alongside his father. The rest is history! He ran the half marathon again in 2015, and the full marathon in 2016. The energy and the atmosphere of the races, the work of the volunteers and the encouragement from spectators throughout the beautiful courses make Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend his favourite racing event. In his opinion, Run Ottawa deserves a gold medal, nothing less. 

In 2020, he’ll be returning to run the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, going barefoot! This event will be his 3rd barefoot race, after the Mont-Tremblant Half Marathon and the 2019 Montreal Marathon. His tribe – his three children and his wife – will be on hand to share these moments, because setting an example for his family is a must.

Candice Eisner | Scotiabank Half Marathon

Candice Eisner

Candice has been running regularly for over 10 years, and did her very first race – a 5k
in Toronto’s High Park – in 2010. Since then she’s tackled distances from the 5k to the
marathon and loves them all. For her, running is a journey that shows we are stronger
than we think we are. On that note, she is currently returning to a regular training
schedule after a knee injury that left her sidelined for the second half of 2019.

Originally from a small town in Nova Scotia, Candice lived in Ottawa from 1997 to
2008. Regrettably, during her time as a local resident, she never ran any of the events
at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend! She’s very excited to be running the half
marathon this year, and considers it an honour to be part of Team Awesome.

Philippe Fortin | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Philippe Fortin

Philippe is a marathoner and ultra-marathoner who runs his commute to and from work every day, no matter what the weather brings. Running is a chance for him to get his “me time” in.  In recent years, he’s shared his day-to-day on Instagram, finding that connecting with other runners on social media has become a contagious habit! 

The upcoming 2020 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon is a chance for him to get back into training after a difficult year of low motivation. To him the real marathon isn’t the day of the race, but the weeks preceding it. Feel free to reach out to Philippe during a running event or on social media, he’s excited to share his passion in real life and online!

Kristel Gauthier | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Kristel Gauthier

Kristel lives in Ottawa with her husband and three children. She began running in high school to stay active and relieve stress. Following the birth of her first child and experiencing postpartum depression, running helped Kristel get back on her feet. Her passion for running continues, keeps her mental health in check, and she hopes to inspire others. 

Since 2011, she has participated in over 50 races including four marathons, her first being the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in 2018. Kristel has been a member of Run Ottawa for the past two years where she has met some amazing people. Because of the support from other runners, she has achieved many personal bests and placed first woman in a 15 mile challenge. Her goal is to chase that unicorn and qualify for Boston 2021.

Kristel is thrilled to be a member of #TeamAwesome in 2020 and can’t wait to share her running, training, and unicorn-chasing journey with you!   

Erika Goreski | Lumberjack Challenge

Erika Goreski

Having grown up without much interest in sport or exercise, Erika decided to give running a try at age 35. Soon, she was hooked. A 5k turned into a 10k. A 10k turned into a half marathon. A half marathon turned into a full marathon. Roads turned to trails, and Erika has spent the past few years conquering ultramarathons and multi-day stage races.  

Erika’s commitment to running became a need to chase new goals and challenge limits – she wanted to demonstrate that she could manage a full time job, a household, a child, personal commitments, child commitments AND a rigorous running/training plan. She wanted to demonstrate that being busy is a choice, and that we can always find the time for things that are important to us.  

Although Erika has had a pretty steady focus on trail running these past few years, she’s excited to train for a road marathon again and is thrilled to share her training experiences as part of Team Awesome 2020.

Nicholas Landry | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Nicholas Landry

Nick, in his third year of running, is relatively new to the running scene. He started his running journey in the spring of 2017 to improve his fitness while playing soccer. During this time, he became more familiar with the sport and the distances, including people running +100 miles, or in insane conditions. This opened his eyes to the limitlessness of human potential and serves as a beacon of inspiration.

Since 2017, Nick has run in five official races, including three half marathons, one marathon (which went badly), and a 52km ultra marathon. He hopes to eventually complete a 100 miler.  Nick now lives in Sackville, New Brunswick and runs regularly with the Amherst Striders. He runs for the purposes of fitness, health, and to relieve stress. 

Nick is very excited to join #TeamAwesome, and to redeem himself at the marathon distance for the upcoming Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Éveric Lauzière | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Éveric Lauzière

The Barefoot commuter has officially made a habit of kicking off the race season with the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. A father of three, he shares his passion for running with his children on a daily basis. Indeed, he runs to his kids’ elementary school and then to the daycare every day before he pursues his run-commute to the office… And then back at night!

And all that is done barefoot most of the time. Some say it is crazy, others swear it is reckless… But if you ask Everic, he will tell you that this is how he stays out of injury all year round… Go ahead: ask him to learn all about it!

In 2018 and 2019, he completed the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. This year, he is aiming for the half marathon and has set the goal to establish a new personal best on the distance.

Sarah Lemelin-Bellerose | Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon

Sarah Lemelin-Bellerose

Sarah started running in 2012, when she decided one spring morning that she would start training for a half marathon the next Fall. She got hooked in the process and after successfully completing her first race, she knew she had found her passion. Despite injuries and setbacks, she kept persevering and her love for the sport just kept growing. She has since raced many 5ks, 10ks, half-marathons, two marathons and two Olympic triathlons.

For Sarah, running is a way to stay healthy and happy while overcoming challenges and goals you never thought possible. Running is also a way to bring people together: since she started running, she has run three half-marathons with her dad, three 5ks with her brother and many other races with friends and family. She loves helping people starting to run and achieving their own objectives.

She is excited for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend as it will be another opportunity to share an amazing race course with friends and family.

Matthieu Leroux | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Matthieu Leroux

Matthieu was born and raised in Ottawa.  He remembers waking up early on Sunday mornings during Ottawa Race Weekend to watch the elite runners go by.

He participated in his first 5k race in 2002. Since then he ran in several 5k and 10k races and a few half marathons including the Walt Disney World half marathon in 2013.

In June 2016, Matthieu’s daughter was born and she was the inspiration he needed to push his limits and setting a few personal bests along the way. You can usually see him running with his daughter in the stroller cheering him on saying «faster papa faster»

In May 2019, he ran in his first marathon at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. It showed him that anything is possible and he wants to inspire other runners young and old.

Being part of Team Awesome 2020 is great way to get runners from all over and inspire other runners and have fun at the same time.

Morten Lidegaard | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Morten Lidegaard

Morten Lidegaard lives in Ottawa and is a self-proclaimed Brittified Dane who is slowly turning Canadian. He has been running on and off since his early twenties – at times, other activities like inline skating, kayaking or mountain biking would take over, but he has always found his way back to running for some reason. 

He is a huge fan of trails, mud, hills and long distances and fuelled primarily by greens, beans and grains. He has conquered half-marathons, marathons, and ultra-marathons over the past seven years. 

He never listens to music while running, but you will most likely see the gadget-loving runner with a couple of GPS watches along with a camera on his runs; capturing the spectacular scenery around Ottawa in all kinds of weather and all year round: No such thing as bad weather – only poor clothing… Just get out there!

Gregory Marc | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Gregory Marc

Gregory Marc started running more than 10 years ago to lose weight. Since then, he has managed to lose 70 lbs, and running has become his passion. He ran a few marathons (Paris, Nantes, Poitiers, Lausanne, Longueuil, and Laval) and also started his own racing club where he organizes several meetups a week. Gregory loves running in -20 degree weather and in the snow, and is ready for Course Hivernale! His next goal, the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, is a great opportunity to run even more this winter!

Maxime Mc Gee | Voyageur Challenge

Maxime Mc Gee

In 2020, it will be the 10 year anniversary of Maxime becoming a serious runner. What better way to highlight this milestone than to be a Team Awesome ambassador for the third year? In 2019, he tackled Voyageur Challenge and liked the experience so much that he decided to do it a second time!

Maxime has lost count of the number of races he’s participated in. One thing that has not changed, however, is the joy he feels at the starting line, whether he’s there as a runner or a pace bunny. Follow Maxime as he prepares for the 2020 Voyageur Challenge! He’s looking forward to seeing all the runners at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, and to share his passion for running.

Lindsay McPhee | Voyageur Challenge

Lindsay McPhee

Lindsay has been an avid runner for 15+ years, though she only took up racing in 2017. Since then she has completed 2 Ultra Ragnar Relays (300+ km relay races), 4 half marathons, a handful of 5 and 10Ks, as well as 2 McMarathons and 1 Beer mile. In 2017 she joined a local run club, Ottawa City Run Club (OCRC), and has been inspired by other OCRC members to take on the crazy running events she has completed. She’s hoping to inspire runners to challenge themselves at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2020 through her journey to train for the Voyageur Challenge. 

In her spare time, Lindsay is Co-Chair of Special Olympics. Special Olympics is focused on enriching the lives of individuals of all ages with an intellectual disability through the power of sport, which she has seen first-hand while out at local competitions and programming. Running has had a positive impact on her life, and she’s looking forward to sharing that with everyone running any distance at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 2020.

André Mollema | Scotiabank Ottawa Half-Marathon

André Mollema

Returning as a Team Awesome co-captain for 2020, André’s goal this year is to improve his half-marathon race time, while encouraging other runners in their training.

With years of running under his belt, André chooses to train all year long to reap the benefits of both improved physical and mental wellbeing. Working as a paramedic for the City of Ottawa, he considers distance running to be an ideal way to help channel the inherent stress that comes with his profession!

According to André, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is the best place to run if you want to experience the National Capital Region fully, and experience its beautiful sights and scenery. The atmosphere is magical, especially when running by the cheering stations, where the energy of the supportive crowds keep you going to the finish line. Be like André and live the experience of this memorable race weekend!

Anne-Lise Nadeau | Voyageur Challenge

Anne-Lise Nadeau

When she was young, singer and comedian Anne-Lise Nadeau was not athletic. It wasn’t until she was 18 years old that a teacher in phys-ed class helped her discover the benefits of athletics. After having three children, she took up running outside with her stroller as many moms do! Back then in 2011, GPS watches were just coming out on the market, so she was able to track her progress. Ashe decided to register for a 10K run, then shortly thereafter, upgraded to a half marathon. She had been bitten by the running bug!

The 2013 Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon was Anne-Lise’s first marathon, and she’s been running at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend every year since! With 17 marathons under her belt, Anne-Lise will be participating in her second Voyageur Challenge in 2020. On Saturday, she will run with her children and her spouse, and on Sunday with friends. For her, road races are like parties!

Paige Nichols | Voyageur Challenge

Paige Nichols

Running has changed Paige Nichols’ life in so many ways. First and foremost, running has given her a sense of purpose and a community of people she could relate to. 

Paige has lost over 90lbs and went back to school to become a certified trainer. The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend has special significance for Paige, being the last race she did with her mom before losing her to breast cancer last year. Race Weekend to her is family and the community coming together to support each other in so many ways.

Paige has run run two marathons, 13 half marathons and countless 5, 10 and 15k races. This year she will be taking on the Voyageur Challenge. Paige lives by the quote: “The strength you find to climb the hill will help you to soar down the other side.”

Andrew Paterson |

Andrew Paterson

Andrew grew up in Ottawa and ran track and cross country in high school. As university came and went, running took a back seat in his list of priorities. Races were occasional endeavours spurned on by friends. As life became busier, running was pushed further and further back. 

In 2017, the spark was re-ignited. A lifelong desire to run the Boston Marathon brought focus and attention back and running, once again, became a priority. On his fourth dedicated attempt to qualify for Boston, Andrew did it!

Running has now cemented itself as a pillar in Andrew’s life. It’s even woven itself into his family life, with his wife and daughter participating in Ottawa races while his boys watch and cheer. Andrew is planning to team up with a blind runner and run as a guide at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. 

Connect with him on Instagram as he posts about all things running!

Simonne Poulin | Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon

Simonne Poulin

Simonne Poulin has not always been physically active – in fact it wasn’t until she was 69 years old that she started running, after noticing she was having difficulty breathing. Running caused her some physical discomfort, so she turned to fast and athletic walking instead. Simonne doesn’t let herself be deterred from training by the harsh Canadian winters. Last year, she trained in the winter and was determined to be ready for the marathon in Paris. 

Simonne prefers races that offer starts for walkers, otherwise, she starts with runners, always walking briskly. 2020 will mark her 5th year participating in Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, and will be the first time she does the Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon with her younger sister, after walking the 10K with her daughter the day before! Simonne is passionate and never tires of talking about training, food or shopping! Follow her on Facebook where she will be happy to share her experiences.

Chantal Provost | Bytown Challenge

Chantal Provost

Have you ever looked out your window to see your neighbour, outside, dressed a little funny and running at impossible temperature? Chantal is that neighbour! 

This all happened because one morning Chantal said to herself, “Today is the day.” That day, Chantal put on a pair of sneakers and she went outside. It’s was as simple as that. 

Since 2016, one small step at a time, Chantal has done a number of outings, in good weather or wind, snow or rain! She wants you to know that all you have to do is to get up and go! You don’t need trendy gadgets or sophisticated clothes; you just need a little willpower. =

The Tamarack Race Weekend is the perfect opportunity to get a workout goal, no matter the distance. Follow Chantal on Twitter to see the daily life of a very ordinary but engaged woman! A five-time half-marathoner, the Bytown challenge is her goal this year and she thinks she can help you achieve yours. Chantal looks forward to seeing you there!

Yves Prévost | Voyageur Challenge

Yves Prévost

Yves hails from St Boniface Manitoba.  He has lived and worked across Canada spending 17 years in Thunder Bay and 15 years in Ottawa.  Yves is now retired in sunny Lansdowne, Ontario, the heart of the 1000 Islands. 

Yves officially started running in school track meets 55 years ago and has never looked back. Over the years, Yves has run hundreds of 5km, 10km, 21.1km and 30km. In 2019, he ran last-5-year PBs in all those distances.  Strangely, he has never run a full marathon. Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is a yearly favourite, and Yves plans to run the Voyageur Challenge in 2020, perhaps a step towards the full?

Yves is thrilled to be part of Team Awesome 2020, sharing his experiences with all runners and promoting one of Canada’s premier race events, the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Yves plans to be running when he is 100 & believes a healthy lifestyle that running provides, will get him there. 

Stephanie Ranger | Bytown Challenge

Stephanie Ranger

Stephanie has been running since high school when she first hit the ground to train for cross-country meets. Running was the constant in Stephanie’s life that got her through through the ups and downs of going back to university as a mature student as well as getting back in shape after the births of her two children. She ran her first 5km road race when she was nearing the end of her first trimester with her first child and hasn’t looked back. 

Stephanie will be tackling the Bytown Challenge during Race Weekend. This will be a real challenge as she is working back from a foot injury suffered in a Fall 2019 race. As an elementary school teacher, Stephanie will also will be championing her elementary school team of 30+ runners running in the Kids Marathon. She is looking forward to showing herself herself and her students that hard work and steady progress do pay off.

Leanne Richardson | Lumberjack Challenge

Leanne Richardson

Leanne started running later in life and completed her first marathon in 2013. She enjoys the mental and emotional benefits that running offers her. She appreciates the challenge of long distance running and has completed several marathons, ultra races and multi-day stage races.

“The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend allows you to take in all the beautiful parts of our great city”, says Leanne. “There is an energy that cannot be explained, but instead needs to be experienced.”

She believes if you set a goal, make a plan and work hard anything is possible! Leanne loves everything that Team Awesome represents; it’s about sharing our running experiences as we train for race weekend! We want to encourage, support, and cheer one another on so we can all get to the finish line!

Kimberly Rutke | Voyageur Challenge

Kimberly Rutke

Kim is a wife, mom of two girls, and works full time in corporate Human Resources. She started running after her second daughter was born in 2018 as a way to get some exercise and fresh air. She’ll tell you that running is the perfect mental reset and is a great form of self care. 

Kimberly ran her first half marathon in March 2019, and just completed her first marathon this past October. The first Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend event that Kim participated in was the 10km with her husband Jeremy in 2015. Her favourite part of Race Weekend is the spectators. She loves running through the streets of Ottawa, hearing the music and seeing all of the smiling faces. She ran a personal record (PR) at the 2019 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend half marathon, and she’s really to take on a new challenge in 2020: the Voyageur Challenge! 

Andrea Salin | Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon

Andrea Salin

After years of avoiding track and field days and faking injury to get out of gym class, Andrea started running in 2010. Having been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 2008, running became a way of regaining control over her body. She ran her first 5K that year and the racing bug hit hard.

Andrea has since run over 100 races including two World Major marathons, 4 Ragnar Relays, and will be completing her third 78.3 km Walt Disney World Dopey Challenge in January 2020. She loves “racecations” and while a personal best (PB) is nice, Andrea’s main goal is always to have fun out on the course. 

Having run her first marathon in Ottawa in 2014 and the Voyageur Challenge in 2018, Andrea is thrilled to be running the half marathon in 2020. After a year plagued with injury, Ottawa will be her comeback race and she’s excited to share her journey as part of Team Awesome!

Marie-Claude Samson | Scotiabank Half Marathon

Marie-Claude Samson

Marie-Claude was born and raised in Ottawa and grew up avoiding physical activity as an overweight teen. It wasn’t until 2014 that she found a passion for fitness and nutrition, and finally became the active person she had always wanted to be. 

After losing 60lbs she decided to try running and fell in love with the sport. She will be completing her first half-marathon at the 2020 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend! 

When she’s not running, Marie-Claude enjoys spending time with her wife and pets or in the kitchen meal prepping and coming up with new healthy dishes. 

Marie-Claude is thrilled to be a part of Team Awesome and is excited to share her journey to the finish line. As a member of the self-proclaimed turtle club, she looks forward to crushing stereotypes and showing others you can be a runner at any size!  

Virginie Savaria | Voyageur Challenge

Virginie Savaria

Virginie is a mother of four (ranging in age from 19 to 19 months) and is deaf and visually impaired. She caught the running bug in 2014 during an official race. She has not stopped running since then. It is a real pleasure for her to indulge in this sport. For Virginie, it’s a joy to participate in running as a sport that isn’t just reserved for elites, but is accessible to everyone.

With her differences, she inspires people around her and she encourages them to move at their own speed. She hopes to inspire even more people with her role as Team Awesome ambassador for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend! Never hesitate to approach her (or her guide who is always running with her) to say hi!

Nicole Sterling | Ottawa 10K

Nicole Sterling

Born and raised in New York, Nicole moved to Montreal almost 17 years ago. Her story started September 2006, during the birth of her daughter, when she went into cardiac arrest at 31. The doctors were able to get her heart started again, but she suffered a heart attack about 20 minutes later. Nicole woke up from a coma about 6 hours later not knowing what exactly happened. The aftermath of all of this left her absolutely petrified to do anything physically demanding for years fearing she would have another heart attack. 

Nicole finally got full clearance from her cardiologist in late September 2013 and started running.  Fast forward to today. She now runs 4-5 times a week, eats right and has lost 125 lbs and have kept it off for 4 years. 

Nicole is very excited for this opportunity to spread her love for the sport of running to the running community. Her goal is to run a race in every Canadian province.

Josee St-Jean | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Josee St-Jean

Josee started running in the spring of 2013 as a way to gain some fitness after losing a lot of weight. What was supposed to be an activity she would do two or three times a week for about 30 minutes quickly became a passion and a way for her to discover new places and make new friends. 

She ran her first marathon at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend (TORW) in 2014 and found that she absolutely loved long distance running. Marathons quickly became 50Ks, 80Ks,100Ks and she finally ran her first 100 mile trail race in 2017. After running over 30 ultras, she is now focusing on reaching a goal she always had but never really tried seriously: qualifying for the Boston Marathon.

So, in the next couple of months, she will put the trails aside a little (not completely!) and will focus on running more on the road and doing workouts to make her faster. She is super excited to run TORW again for the first time since 2014 and to share her journey towards her Boston Qualification (BQ). Maybe it won’t happen at TORW but it will be a step towards reaching that goal!

Lisa Sun | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Lisa Sun

Lisa was born in South Africa but has called Canada home for the last 20 years. She started running because someone said she couldn’t run and has been running ever since, about 14 years now! She was a casual runner until she stepped out of her comfort zone and joined a local run club. There she made some great friends and started running more consistently increasing her runs in both pace and distance.

Lisa runs to push herself as well as to inspire others. She is excited and honoured to be a part of Team Awesome and is looking forward to her first destination marathon at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. 

Having never even wanting to run a marathon before, this will be Lisa’s 4th full marathon and she hopes to finally get that elusive sub 4-hour goal time! Be inspired by following her Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon training on Instagram.

Karolina Tomaszewska | Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon

Karolina Tomaszewska

Karolina is an adventure enthusiast living in downtown Toronto. She started running in 2016 when a friend asked her to be on a team of women that would run the Bruce Trail as an end-to-end relay. She continued running and completed her first half marathon in the fall of 2017. She continues to run through all seasons and uses running as a form of exploration. It’s hustles though graffiti-covered alleys one day, urban trails and forests the next day.

Karolina is an ambassador of movement and is often finding new ways to move in and around the city. Cycling, pilates, neighborhood strolls; it’s all fair game in the name of movement. Join Karolina as she shares her training journey leading up to the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. Follow her adventure runs, crew runs, art runs, or just runs for snacks, because they are all part of the process. Karolina loves mingling and looks forward to engaging with fellow racers, online and in real life (IRL!) so make sure to say hi!

Jenn Tuthill | Ottawa 5K

Jenn Tuthill

Jenn grew up in Ottawa. She is a mom of two and is very excited to be back for a second year of representing Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend as a member of Team Awesome.

Jenn started running in 2010 and two years later ran her first marathon a week before her wedding. Her favourite distance is the half marathon, but she is growing to love the 5 and 10km distances.

After a five-year break to undergo fertility treatments for both of her children, she started running again in the summer of 2019. Jenn is very much looking forward to being a part of #TeamAwesome in 2020, and is looking forward to sharing her training for, and running of the 5k at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend as well as all that Race Weekend had to offer.

She is hoping she can bring a spotlight to the always warm and welcoming running community in the nation’s capital.

Mandie Vossenberg | Ottawa 10K

Mandie Vossenberg

Mandie doesn’t consider herself a “natural born runner”.

Completely pigeon toed, with a poor sense of direction, physical activity isn’t something that came easily to her. In fact, after running her first 5K in 2013, she vowed it would be her last. In 2017, with the encouragement of a coach, she signed up for what she called her first “real” race – the Ottawa 10K, and immediately acquired a leg injury that sidelined her training. Regardless, she hobbled over the finish line that May, and was instantly hooked. 

Since then, Mandie has continued to develop her running skills and set more challenging goals, completing multiple half-marathons and even an IronMan 70.3 triathlon. Today, she works towards helping others achieve their running dreams by volunteering at running events, and working to become a certified run coach. She’s excited for the opportunity to continue this as a member of #TeamAwesome2020.  

Riley Wignall | Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon

Riley Wignall

Riley began running in 2007 to lose weight and – at first – she kind of hated it.  

Her relationship with the sport was on-again off-again until 2017, when she started her running Instagram and ran her first half-marathon. This was quickly followed by another half marathon, her first marathon in 2018, and Hamilton’s (in)famous Around The Bay 30K in 2019. 

She no longer runs for weight loss, but instead for love of the sport and the mental health benefits it brings. She loudly and proudly champions body positivity and the belief that all bodies are runner’s bodies. 

Riley is recovering from a mild running injury and is excited to get back to running and take on her second marathon at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. She’s thrilled to connect with all kinds of runners and share the journey as a member of Team Awesome 2020.