Last May, I was still living in Sherbrooke and made the decision to make the 3.5 hour trek over to Ottawa on marathon weekend to catch a bit of the vibe and check out the festivities. I wasn’t actually there for any of the races. I spend the Friday at the expo, meeting people, listening to stories and checking out the city. Of course, I got in a run too. After only 7 hours in the city, around the expo (which I don’t normally like expos) I knew I had to come back to actually run in the race at some point. Today I sit 10 days away from that dream.
I have been talking a lot about Ottawa being my goal race, but what I feel like I’ve failed to do is really represent the race itself well. I don’t think most people really understand how big of a deal this race is, not just for me, but for all who participate and the city of Ottawa.
The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend hosts multiple races over the course of the weekend. The 10k is held Saturday night and attracts elites from all over the world. It’s Canada’s 10k championship too, so there are plenty of Olympic athletes from around the globe who come and compete.
Last year there were over 46,000 runners who participated in the weekend between all the different events. This is no small race, and the crowds are huge too. The marathon is another big draw for the weekend. Last year I ran Hamilton which boasts the highest percentage of their field that BQ’s. This race is far, far bigger and the percentage of BQ’s is pretty close to the same, making this marathon the largest field of BQ’s in Canada.
To put it another way, it’s a fast and beautiful course that tends to draw some great runners. Last year, the top 4 finished in 2:12 and under. My goal for the race is to run a sub 3:00 marathon and that might put me out of the top 150 runners in this race, which is pretty incredible to thing of how many great runners there are.
Speaking of 150, this year is Canada’s 150th birthday, and couple that with the already electric atmosphere of the race weekend, this event should be a huge party in our nation’s capital. I’ve talked to so many people that have said this celebration will feel more like Canada Day than July 1 actually will. It promises to be a big party.
I don’t know that there’s a bigger race in Canada. Definitely not in the spring time. I am not an ambassador for this race, nor do I get any kind of free entry for writing this post. I simply am a guy who is so excited for this weekend, and as a fan of running, I would be whether I was racing or not. Shockingly, I have not heard of any of the races selling out yet, which the half normally does. So if you would still like to come out, I can’t recommend this race any higher.
I don’t know what will happen on May 28. I do know that as I head home on May 29, I will leave with some amazing memories of an indescribable weekend. I cannot wait.