at the races #45for45: Racers Reflect on Ottawa Race Weekend

#45for45: Racers Reflect on Ottawa Race Weekend


All week, we’ve been asking readers to share their remembrances of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend ahead of the event’s registration opening September 1. We’ve heard from a great many racers and heard a great many inspiring stories using the hash tag #45for45, in honour of the event’s 45th birthday. Here’s a nice one we received from Rebecca Skinner.

“The Ottawa Marathon is special for me because it was my first marathon in 2016. It was SO hot, and we really hadn’t had any heat during training. Crossing that finish line was the first time I really felt like I could do ANYthing I set my mind to!” 

That feeling that Rebecca describes—the confidence infused by setting a goal and accomplishing it—is behind why so many of us love our sport. Here’s a great note that we received from Colleen Berry: “[I’ve run it every year] Since 2006. Each one very memorable. None taken for granted. My only personal (selfish) tradition. I LOVE this race.” 

I think it’s good for people, not just runners, to have selfish traditions. You have to do things for yourself in order to be happy, and if that “selfish thing” is running, you’re certainly not hurting anyone and helping both your physical and mental health.

Mental health, especially, can be tenuous and runners from the elite level on down to us normal everyday folks run to keep themselves in check. Few have experienced the pain of well-known Ottawa racer and volunteer Julie Drury, who is a familiar face at many running events. She wrote: “I ran the Boston Marathon and Ottawa Marathon back to back in 2016, five months after my daughter died. Running was an anchor I held onto. Running partners counselled me. The pain of running connected me. They were the hardest runs of my life and probably the most meaningful.”

In the end, whether it’s the Ottawa Marathon or the marathon closest to where you live, running is about so much more than just sneakers and bagels. So many of us have a deeply personal connection to the Ottawa Marathon and we appreciate all your stories. Mei Ling wrote: “In 2016, heat got to me. I bonked at 26K, walked the rest, but the crowd support got me through. Thought the race broke me, but it made me stronger. It helped me believe in myself and not give up. Made me the runner I am today.” 

Keep the stories coming. Keep showing up for races. Keep enjoying the end of summer and the onset of fall. The photo featured up top is from Chris Hale. As this is the 45th birthday of the Ottawa Marathon, there’s great archival shots. Chris wrote: My mother ran the Ottawa Marathon twice in the 80s (1981 & 1982). She’s with her brother in the above photograph.” 

To register for the Tamarack Ottawa Marathon on September 1, and after that, please click here.