Runners lace up for charity at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

The Tamarack Race celebrated its 50th anniversary last weekend
Photo: Tyler Reis-Sanford
Runners started their race in front of Ottawa City Hall.

The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend kicked off its 50th anniversary last Saturday at City Hall in front of tens of thousands of cheering fans. The weekend consisted of six races, ranging in length from the Kids Marathon and Ottawa two-kilometre run, to the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon. Runners and supporters from around the country gathered to celebrate and cheer on loved ones as they ran for a good cause. Last year, more than $1 million was raised for charity, and this year participants continued raising funds and awareness for their causes.

Runners start their race in front of Ottawa City Hall.
Runners started their race in front of Ottawa City Hall. Photo credit: Tyler Reis-Sanford

“We rented a big Airbnb for this just 15 minutes outside of the city,” said runner Christian Longtin. He and his group of friends all wore pink graphic t-shirts in support of their friend Marie, who wasn’t able to run this year due to her battle with breast cancer.

“She didn’t know we had them,” said another of Marie’s friends, Maxime Champagne. “We said we had a surprise for her, it was a really touching moment when she saw.”

Marie and friends taking a rest between races.
Marie and friends taking a rest between races. Photo credit: Tyler Reis-Sanford

Ottawa Mayor Mark Sutcliffe was also in attendance this year. Despite running the London marathon less than a month ago, Mayor Sutcliffe was determined to run the Tartan Ottawa International Marathon in support of Ottawa Victim Services and Dhanushka Wickramasinghe, the sole survivor of a brutal attack in Barrhaven last month. After Sutcliffe crossed the finish line in just over four hours, it was Wickramasinghe who presented the mayor with his medal. Wickramasinghe said the support he has gotten from not only Mayor Sutcliffe, but also the citizens of Ottawa has left him “speechless.”

Onlookers cheer from above as runners made their way down Colonel By Drive.
Onlookers cheered from above as runners made their way down Colonel By Drive. Photo credit: Tyler Reis-Sanford

Liam Nowacki, a Level 3 computer programming and analysis student at Algonquin College was also among the attendees. Having previously completed the half-marathon in under two hours, Nowacki was unable to run in this year’s race due to unforeseen circumstances, but still came out to volunteer his time.

Liam Nowacki volunteering his time at the Tamarack Race Weekend.
Liam Nowacki volunteered his time at the Tamarack Race Weekend. Photo credit: Tyler Reis-Sanford

“I just think about all the people who volunteered and made it possible for me to run,” said Nowacki. “I was sad I couldn’t run this year but it’s a good chance to give back to the sport. It brings a lot of people together and I enjoy the community aspect of it, it doesn’t really matter how fast you did it or I did it, what matters is that we all ran the same race and we finished it. It’s about the challenge more than anything.”

This year’s race saw more than 13,650 runners take part, and raised more than $900,000 for charity. The event was a great success in bringing together the community for a good cause, with an estimated more than 200,000 people in attendance.

“I think it’s a very important event,” said Nowacki. “Even though we’re alone we’re running together.”

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