Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe founded iRun magazine. Among other things (many, many other things), Mayor Sutcliffe continues to run and support the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, an event that pumps $14-million into the local economy. The biggest multi-day race event in Canada is coming up on May 25 and celebrating a birthday: turning 50-years-old. As runners around Canada, and, indeed, the world, begin turning their attention to spring goals and races, we checked in with the Mayor to hear of his love for his race, and his plans for this year.
iRun: What makes the Ottawa Marathon special?
Mayor Sutcliffe: The route is spectacular and historic and includes two provinces. The people are amazing. The atmosphere of the entire weekend is electric.
iRun: Do you have any particular memories that stick out?
Mayor Sutcliffe: Crossing the finish line of my first marathon in 2004 was a life-changing event. But one of my fondest memories was of a race I didn’t run. In 2009, my wife was nine months pregnant in late May. So I didn’t think it was a good time for me to be on a marathon course. Instead, I went to the finish line and watched thousands of people cross. It was incredibly moving and inspiring to watch everyone reaching their goal. We went to the hospital that night and our son Jack was born the next day.
iRun: The race is coming up on its 50th birthday. How significant of a milestone is that for our sport?
Mayor Sutcliffe: The anniversary is significant. But the success of the event is what is really noteworthy. The race almost disappeared many years ago because of a lack of sponsorship and participation. Now it’s so strong and established that it survived the pandemic and has tens of thousands of runners every year, stable and reliable revenue, and a huge following.
iRun: How do you think it’s achieved its success?
Mayor Sutcliffe: It’s a testament to the extraordinary work and leadership of hundreds of volunteers and a small but mighty team of employees over many years.
iRun: Why is running overall beneficial?
Mayor Sutcliffe: For so many reasons. I run for both my physical and mental health. And running has been a great teacher in my life. I have learned that I can do the unexpected if I do the work to prepare.
iRun: And the million dollar question: is it true you planning on running this Ottawa Marathon with Ben Kaplan again?
Mayor Sutcliffe: I think the bigger question is whether Ben Kaplan will run again with me.
For more information on the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, May 25-26, please click here.