My earliest memory of Ottawa’s premier running event was seeing a framed picture of my dad hanging on the wall. Hands raised above his head, dripped in sweat, his genuine smile beamed with significance and meaning at crossing the finish line. For my dad and hundreds of thousands of people who share a similar experience – whether it’s their first time or twentieth, a short or longer distance – there is something really special about arriving at that finish line. The finish line this year unfortunately won’t have the same cheering section but will be special nonetheless.
Due to COVID 19, The 46th Annual Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend slated for May 22nd and 23rd was forced to move to a virtual format. The weekend which was expected to bring more than 32,000 participants to the start line has pivoted quickly to embrace the new plan.
This wasn’t quite the way Race Director Ian Fraser saw things going his first year at the helm. Ian began his new role as Run Ottawa’s Executive Director and Race Director this past fall. “There was bitter disappoint amongst our small but hard working team when the decision was made,” said Ian. “It was emotional for me, gut wrenching actually, to the point where I sent off the email and immediately left for a run to clear my head.”
Despite disappointment there seems to be an added interest in participation. An elated Fraser mentioned, “We were shocked and surprised that within a week of re-launching virtually, we had 300 new registrations. People are paying full price and signing up for more than one event and are helping give the Scotiabank Charity Challenge a fighting chance.” Typically, this event helps raise around $800k a year.
The opportunity for the virtual race begins May 15th and will continue through Sept 7th. Sports Stats will be inputting race results and will use your best time, should you decided to give it another whirl. There are additional incentives and prizes to be won and you can even take advantage of breaking up your distances into portions should you chose to do so.
Ian Fraser’s lace-up tips for race day:
- Be mindful of the time of day you run. This is your chance to run at your favorite time and not when the race is scheduled. Chose what feels right or when you feel at your strongest.
- Don’t change things around your regular routine, so don’t break out a new pair of shoes, underwear or sports bra.
- Remember to manage hydration for the week leading up to the race and recovery snacks for when you finish.
- Warm up with a light run and stretch prior to the race, and give yourself a few minutes to stretch when you are done to avoid being stiff the next day (especially for those running longer distances than they are used to).
- Plan your route with provisions (keeping in mind social distancing rules) –create a route where you can pass by your house for water or energy bars, or let friends or family know that you might drop off items to a porch or driveway for touchless pick-up along the way (no need for them to touch).
- Do not run on the designated official run course.
For more information visit: www.runottawa.ca.