Published on June 14, 2019
Recognized by Canadian Running magazine as one of the best race weekends anywhere, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend draws runners and spectators from across the globe. The marquee event, the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon – which celebrated its 45th anniversary this year – is Canada’s largest and fastest marathon, consistently eliciting high praise from all participants.
But Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is more than just a flawlessly-organized series of events held in a beautiful city; it is also the only one in North America (and one of only four in the world) to include two IAAF Gold Label races (the 10K and the marathon). To merit the Gold Label, the following criteria have to be met:
- Elite competitors from at least five different countries; elite men must meet the standard of 2:10:30, women 2:28:00
- high-quality road surface and complete road closures
- adequate professional medical support, aid stations with well trained volunteers
- video screen at the finish
- live television coverage or internet streaming in at least 10 countries
- press conferences and support including a media scrum at the finish line, prize money, appearance fees, and insurance
- sophisticated anti-doping facilities and procedures
Even among non-elites, the Ottawa Race Weekend garners rave reviews from participants who appreciate the scenic course and the hundreds of thousands of spectators who come out to cheer all along the race routes.
At the heart of race weekend is the Health and Fitness Expo, held at Shaw Centre for the past 9 years. This 2.5 day expo takes place in Canada Hall and attracts 60,000 visitors from all over the world. It features race kit and t-shirt pick-up, fundraising pledge drop-off for those raising funds for the Ottawa Hospital Foundation and Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend souvenir clothing. In addition, there are over 100 exhibitors showcasing the latest information and gear, including Canada Army Run, Rejuvenate, Zizu Optics, Xact Nutrition, Garmin, Brooks and Nuun Hydration. The expo is a fun way to get the runners and their “cheerleaders” pumped for the run, and forms an essential part of the whole race weekend experience
“Shaw Centre really enjoys being a part of Tamarack Race Weekend, as it promotes a healthy and active lifestyle,” notes the Centre’s president and CEO, Nina Kresler. “We are proud of our longstanding affiliation with Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and feel honored to play an important role in this historical event that is close to Ottawa’s heart. The race expo serves to greet and celebrate all competitors, whether they are elite marathoners or first time 2K participants. We are also mindful that approximately $14 million is pumped into the Ottawa Economy due to race weekend, with as many as 40,000 visitors descending upon our beautiful city, so we take extra care to make sure they feel welcomed as they visit our facility during their time in the nation’s capital.”
“I was excited to be able to watch the start of the 10k which took place just steps from Shaw Centre; it really drove home all the excitement of race weekend,” adds Jason Edwards, Shaw Centre’s event manager for the race weekend expo. “We look forward to hosting this event every year, it’s amazing to see people from all over the world come together here at the Centre. Each year, the organizers of race weekend introduce more green initiatives which fit very nicely with Shaw Centre’s emphasis on sustainable operations. I really enjoyed planning this event and being a part of the health and fitness scene here in Ottawa.”
The next Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend will take place May 23 – 24, 2020, with registration for events opening on September 1. Details will be posted soon at https://www.runottawa.ca/.