Like many races in 2020, the Tamarack Ottawa Marathon Race Weekend went virtual for the very first time. This year race organizers were set to take the virtual racing experience to the next level. Rather than looking at the limits of virtual racing, they considered it as an opportunity to better connect with runners, giving much more for runners (and walkers) to look forward to in the lead up to race day in May. “Virtual racing is an opportunity to bridge the gap between where we are, and where we are going,” says race director Ian Fraser. With that positive spirit in mind, here’s a quick rundown on some of the ways Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is helping foster an active, healthy lifestyle lifestyle and keeping, runners and walkers on track every step of the way!
ONE: Goal For It
Whether you’re running your first 5K or 50th marathon, setting goals not only helps you get across the finish line it makes your training that much more enjoyable. “We really want to focus on the journey to race weekend,” says Fraser. “This year it was more important for us to help people have more fun getting to race weekend.” As part of registration, runners will have access to Run Coach, an app that offer personalized training programs for all distances along with coaching tips and advice from experts.
TWO: Boost Your Motivation
Between the chilling cold weather and not having your run crew with you on that long runs Sunday at some point during your training, your motivation can dip, or even plummet. Needless to say having your own personal cheer squad can be just what you need to get out the door. Along with Run Coach, registering for Ottawa Race Weekend also gives you access to Motigo, an interactive platform that sends inspirational text messages that will help you stay focused when you need it most. In addition, runners can create personalized pre-recorded messages to play on race day, giving you a personal cheer squad to help you go the distance.
THREE: Support Local Business
Going beyond race day meant considering how runners live. For most runners, coffee is high on their beverage roster which made the idea of creating Run Ottawa coffee, a natural fit. Supporting local has becoming increasingly important, and as a result Run Ottawa offered a local coffee roaster the warehouse space to roast and produce an exclusive coffee for Run Ottawa. Word has it that there might even been a brewery partnership in the works too.
FOUR: Charity Challenge
In 2020, Ottawa Race Weekend raised over $400,000 for local charities, a tremendous feat considering the circumstances of this past year. This year, runners from coast-to-coast will have the opportunity to go the distance for charities, helping charities score additional funds with prize money award to charities with the largest number of registered runners, largest total dollars raised and the largest amount raised by individual runners. In addition, runners who raise $500 or more will score free entry to the 2022 Ottawa Marathon Race Weekend.
FIVE: Get Walking
Walkers have always been welcomed at Ottawa Race Weekend, but this year it’s a little different. In the theme of encouraging everyone to move more for their physical and mental well-being this year: walkers will notice a few differences. This year’s virtual event offered a unique opportunity to expand the walking event to include the same distances as running. In addition, registered walkers will be able to track their results on a dedicated race page.
SIX: Take On A Challenge
While one race might be a challenge for many runners, for anyone looking for something a little extra, Ottawa Race Weekend has you covered. In 2020, the Bytown Challenged launched which called upon runners to race three back-to-back races in a single day, for a 17K total. This year, runners racing the Voyageur Challenge (3 events totalling 36.1K) and Lumberjack Challenge (four events totalling 59.2K) will receive swag for the challenge as well as race medals for each event.
SEVEN: Build A Whole New Life
Running is a lifestyle, one that creates connections and a community among individuals who may never have had reason to meet. As we look ahead, this past year has given way to deeper connection between runners and race organizers. It has enabled Fraser and the team at Run Ottawa to consider more mindfully, what runners really want beyond race weekend. And it has helped guide what runners can expect beyond virtual racing, and how Run Ottawa can be a part of their everyday life, long after they cross the finish line.