Ottawa was on the run all weekend. The 2017 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend took place and attracted thousands of runners from around the world who ran through the streets under sunny skies. The annual event is organized by Run Ottawa. Short races included runs for children and families, two kilometers, five kilometers, and 10 kilometers. The big two races were the half marathon (21 kilometers), and the marathon (42 kilometers).
Thousands of spectators lined the routes of the various races to cheer on the runners and just generally be amazed by the determination and physical condition of the participants. I personally watched a family running event from the window of an Elgin Street restaurant on Saturday afternoon. While I ate a ridiculously large serving of poutine, parents passed by—some were pushing baby carriages, and all had small children with excited faces and fast-moving legs running beside them.
After filling my face and watching the fit families, I watched the more serious runners start their 5 km race. They began in waves from the start line at the corner of Elgin and Laurier and headed north to Wellington Street where they turned right, crossed the Rideau Canal, and then right again onto Colonel By Drive.
The biggest events of Race Weekend are the half marathon and marathon. In fact, Race Weekend was originally called the National Capital Marathon but the name was changed in 2009 to reflect all of the other races that happen over the weekend. The Race Weekend marathon is the largest in Canada, and it’s also the fastest, with a record time of two hours, six minutes, and 54 seconds. 5,307 people ran in the 2017 marathon and the first to finish was Eliud Kiptanui of Kenya with a time of two hours, 10 minutes, and 13.2 seconds. Seboka Dibaba of Ethiopia was second at two hours, 10 minutes, and 30.2 seconds. In third place, Levy Matebo of Kenya completed the marathon in two hours, 10 minutes, and 47.1 seconds. The first American to cross the finish line was Samuel Kosgei with a time of two hours, 19 minutes, and 10.2 seconds. Kosgei was the 11th person to cross the finish line. Nicholas Berrouard of Shawingan, Quebec was 23rd runner to finish the marathon but was the first Canadian to complete the race. His time was two hours, 24 minutes, and 40.6 seconds. The first woman to complete the 2017 marathon was Guteni Imana from Ethiopia. Her time was two hours, 30 minutes, and 17.5 seconds. All of these runners finished within a fairly close range of each other. Seconds matter when finishing a race.
Race Weekend is one of Ottawa’s biggest events of the year. It’s also one of the busiest. Road closures for race routes leads to traffic jams and detours. Even for non-runners though, there’s something exciting about watching the Race Weekend events. They’re a reminder of human determination, physical fitness, and the enjoyment of the city’s precious months of warm weather.