Tag Archives: Ottawa Race Weekend

Ottawa Race Weekend – A Volunteer’s Perspective

21 Jun

I have been traveling the past few weeks so didn’t get a chance to put up this post on Volunteering at the Ottawa Race Weekend so here it is….


On May 25th, I volunteered at the Ottawa Marathon again this year. Just like last year, it was a great experience. I picked up the t-shirt shown above at the Race Weekend Expo. I love large race expos even if I am not running in the races. So many things to see (and buy!)

This year I didn’t take part in any of the races, but over 48,000 did and it made for a really exciting weekend in Ottawa!

In an effort to remain involved with the event, I decided to sign up as a volunteer once again. I wanted to be at the finish line and hand out medals to the half and full marathon runners.



The day started early, being downtown at about 6:30am but the weather was absolutely gorgeous for volunteers and spectators (wayyy too hot for runners and it showed out of the course).

I had invited a friend of mine to volunteer this year and so got to enjoy some time catching up in the midst of all of the race frenzy. Once we had the medals all prepped, some of us were able to move up to the finish line to watch the elites finish. It was more than impressive to watch these men and women cross the finish line.

I even got to experience the finish of the fastest marathon ever run on Canadian soil (and somehow got a photo at the exact finish time: 2:08:54)


I handed out medals to thousands of people for about 7 hours that day (including a handful of people that I knew!) and noticed that as time went on the reactions of the finishers changed. The longer that each finisher was out there, the more emotional they seemed to have been. It was touching to see the reactions of some runners and the sense of accomplishment that each of them felt.

I stuck around until the very end to see the final finisher. The race organizers very thoughtfully were ready with a bouquet of flowers for that final finisher and she graciously accepted them and was so happy to have made it through her race.


Overall, it was a wonderful day. I love volunteering at this event, it is one of the biggest running events in Canada, how could I not take part in it?!

A little evidence of how lovely a day it was – this is what my sun burnt nose looked like at the end of the day!


I’ll definitely be back next year at the Ottawa Race Weekend – running or volunteering!




One Year Later – 2013 Ottawa Race Weekend

20 May

This time last year I was in full training mode for the 2013 Ottawa Race Weekend – 10km. I was also in my absolute busiest time of work in my entire life so didn’t even have a chance to blog about one of the best running weekends I’ve ever had!


With the 2014 Ottawa Race Weekend fast approaching, I was reminiscing on that weekend and wanted to capture some of my favorite photos and memories from that weekend on this blog….even if it is a whole year later!

Saturday: 10km Race – Personal Best!

I ran the 10km race on the Saturday evening and had been raising funds for a charity as part of the True Sport Running Team. It was one of my 2013 Running Goals and I was happy to accomplish it and support a great cause in the process.

I remember the weather being a little chilly but ultimately great for running. I had to spend most of my day pre-race at the office working but the good news out of that was that I was able to find some old clothes there to use of my throw away clothes that were key to keeping me warm before the race started.



There were over 9000 runners in the 10km and the sight of that many people running together was just amazing!

I had what felt like the best long distance race of my life and finished with a personal best time of 47:30! I felt great the entire time and even managed negative splits throughout the entire 10km.


Of the 9000 runners, my husband some how managed to spot me running by and was able to snap a photo in the process.


Sunday: Marathon Finish Line Volunteer

On the Sunday of Race Weekend, I accomplished another one of my 2013 Running Goals – to volunteer at a race. I was a Marathon/Half-Marathon finish line volunteer, which meant helping out at the finish line distributing medals and race blankets and various other miscellaneous tasks.


I met some great people and had a really fun morning being involved on the other end of a race. One of the perks of working the finish line was that we got front row seats for the finish of the elites.


Those runners were incredible and inspirational. Definitely an exciting experience to be a part of. Throughout the morning, as the thousands of marathon and half marathoners streamed in, I gave away thousands of race blankets and was even more inspired by each of those runners than I could have imagined.


2014 Ottawa Race Weekend

This year’s edition of Ottawa Race Weekend I will be volunteering at the finish line of the Marathon/Half Marathon once again! If you are running, let me know and I will keep an eye out for you at the finish!


True Sport Running Team

15 Apr

To start 2013, I decided that one of my 2013 Running Goals would be to fundraise for a cause at a race.

When I heard the organization True Sport (a group I am very familiar with and supportive of) was putting together a running team for a large, upcoming local race to fundraise and generate awareness for their cause, I was immediately interested in being a part of it.


For those who don’t know, True Sport is a social movement that believes in transforming lives and communities through sport. The True Sport Foundation strives to instill character in our youth and strengthen Canadian communities by fostering a quality experience for those involved in ALL sport. They set out to accomplish this through a variety of sport and education programs that focus on values such as fairness, excellence, access, inclusion and fun!

For the first time, they have created a running team to take part in the 2013 Ottawa Race Weekend on May 25-26, 2013.

Race Weekend is the biggest running weekend of the year here in Ottawa. Members of the running team can take part in any of the races being held that weekend (races range from 2km to marathon). I will be running the 10km.


As part of this running team I have set a fundraising role and have been included on the True Sport Running Team Website along with other members of the team.

I began my fundraising efforts a few weeks ago by sending an email out to friends and family members looking for their support and donations.

For an added incentive to get more donations, I decided to hold a contest. For every $10 donated, the donor receive 1 entry into this contest. The contest is “Guess Mary’s 10km Finish Time” and the closest guess to my official (chip) finish time will receive a $50 Bon Appetit gift card (good for Kelsey’s, Milestones, Montana’s, Swiss Chalet, Harvey’s restaurants in Canada).

To date, I haven’t received many entries into my contest, but I still have 6 weeks to go, so am hoping the donations/contest entries pick up.

True Sport Running Team

If anyone is interested in donating, you can follow the following steps:

1. Donate as much or as little as you would like on my Giving Page
2. Email me at marycolleenmacdonald@hotmail.com to indicate you have donated and for every $10, you have one guess at what my 10km finish time will be (ensure you make your guess down to the second, for example 50:51 or 50 minutes, 51 seconds)
3. On May 25th stay tuned for my official finish (chip) time to see if you guessed the closest
4. In the event of a tie, whichever individual has made the largest donation will win
5. The $50 Bon Appetit gift card winning prize will then be sent to the winner (this card is only valid in Canada)

I am looking forward to being a part of a team for this event (with team t-shirts and all!) and most importantly raising awareness and funds for a cause and organization that I support.

As we are just over a quarter of the way through the year, I am happy to have this particular 2013 Running Goal well underway.

Stay tuned for additional updates as I work towards completing this goal, and all of my other 2013 Running Goals.


The Compelling Nature of Race Signups

5 Feb

I know I am not alone here when I say there is something compelling about signing up for races. I have read enough blogs to know that I am not the only one who gets excited at the possibility of signing up for new races.

sign up

It may be the goal-driven nature we have as runners where signing up for a race provides us with something new to work towards, to look forward to and to build a new training plan around.

As I mentioned in my 2013 Running Goals I am not working on any performance goals this year, but this still hasn’t limited that inner drive I have to sign up for races and to prepare training plans for them.

With one month of 2013 in the books already, I have been looking at some races that would help me complete some of  my 2013 running goals. Having only officially signed up for one of them so far, I am very close to signing up for a few more.


I signed up for Ottawa Race Weekend 10km (May 25) where I will be on the True Sport Running Team and will be knocking off my 2013 running goal of fundraising for a race.  I have some fundraising plans in the works, and hope to share them in the coming months as we get closer to May 25th.


As Race Weekend is just under 4 months away, I wanted to add some other races to the mix, both in preparation for it and because I can’t resist taking part in some of these fun spring races.

I decided against signing up for January or February races, which ended up being a good choice as I have been sick for the better part of the past two weeks, but still want to get some March and April races in if at all possible. Here are just a few of the ones I am considering:

  • St. Patrick’s Day Race (March 16th): Having taken part in this race last year, I really enjoyed it. People wear green and dress up for St. Patrick’s Day, making the run fun and festive. There’s even a prize for best costume. The race is really fast and run along a very scenic route in Ottawa (along the Rideau Canal). Last year, I knew several other people taking part which made it more exciting. The only downfall to the race was that the 10km course was actually longer than 10km, so hopefully that is corrected. This year, I have already prepared my green St. Patrick’s Day outfit so I have little choice but to sign up now!

    St. Patty's Day Run March 17, 2012

    2012 St. Patrick’s Day 10km Race

  • Alive to Strive (April 28th): I ran this race several years ago and loved everything about it. The race kit, the free pancake breakfast afterwards, the door prizes and the great race location. This year, it appears to have been re-located, but to what looks like another beautiful race location in Ottawa, and the pancake breakfast has been changed to a post-race stew. This is a popular tune-up race for the Ottawa Race Weekend making it usually very fast and exciting to be a part of.

alive to strive

After Ottawa Race Weekend at the end of May, I will be extremely busy with work and out of the country for a month on business so have completely written off races for those next few summer months.

Upon my return, I plan to run my most anticipated race of 2013 – the Color Run in Montreal. I haven’t yet officially signed up, but plan to do so while I can still get the early registration fee! The more I read race recaps about the Color Run, the more excited I am to be a part of it.  Anyone want to join me in Montreal on August 17th for the Color Run??


I don’t like getting too far ahead of myself these days, but as I have a self-proclaimed love for race sign-ups, I must admit that I have not limited myself to ONLY exploring races in the first half of 2013.

The second half of 2013 will be an extremely busy one for me, again with work and travel, and so I don’t want to commit to any other races just yet but the options out there for fun races, destination races, and fundraising races are endless….stay tuned for what races I settle on for the second half of 2013!


2013 Running Goals

11 Jan

After writing my 2012 Running Year in Review earlier this week, I have been given some serious thought to what I wanted out of my running in 2013.

With a really busy year ahead of me (mainly due to lot of business travel and long hours at work forecast for 2013), I have decided that marathons, half-marathons and intense training won’t be on tap for me this year.

I would, of course, like most other runners, love to PR in every distance and get a lot of races in like I did in 2012, but I’ve decided not to make that my focus this year.

Bay Breeze

Finishing my first of 13 races in 2012 (It was February and I hadn’t even decided on any 2012 running goals at that point)

In contemplating running goals for 2013, I was inspired by some other running bloggers out there and their unique running goals that did not have performance (time or distance) goals attached to them.

I have thus come up with a list of running goals that I am both proud of and really excited about working towards in 2013.

And so, here goes …my list of 2013 ‘Running in Transit’ Goals:

1) Volunteer at a race: I have never volunteered at a race, but have taken part in so many of them that I know the importance of volunteers at any race. I want to experience a race from the other side, as a volunteer, and contribute my time back to a sport that I have loved so much.

The biggest race in my city is the Ottawa Marathon in May 2013, so I have my eye on volunteering in some way for this great event.


2) Pace someone in a race: I am by no means the fastest runner out there, I certainly understand that, but I hope to be able to use whatever running competencies I do have to help someone else finish a race or finish in a particular goal time. I typically run alone, in races and in training runs, but in 2013, I want to try to run with someone else, helping them to the finish line, encouraging them along the way to meet their own goals.

3) Fundraise for a cause: I hear a lot about people fundraising for particular causes at various races and I think it’s a wonderful thing to do. I have the time and ability to fundraise, so I want to make it a priority this year to invest some energy into generating funds for important causes. In 2013, I have made it my goal to fundraise for two races:

  • Terry Fox Run: I have been running the Terry Fox Run since I was 4 years old and at times have fundraised for it, with funds going toward cancer research, but I have not invested as much time into it as I’d always wanted to.  In 2013, I want to fundraise for this important cause and proudly present my cheque on September 15, 2013 to my local race organizers.

terry fox run

  • True Sport Ottawa Race Weekend Fundraiser: True sport is a social movement that believes in transforming lives and communities through sport – something I very much believe in too. For the first time, they have created a running team for the 2013 Ottawa Race Weekend – a team that will fundraise and bring awareness to the cause. I have already registered for the 10km on Ottawa Race Weekend and want to become a True Sport running team member in 2013 on top of it.


4) Enjoy a fun race: Since having joined the “blogging world” I have had the opportunity to read race reviews for some really exciting sounding races. Each time I read about a fun-themed race, a race with an amazing race kit or fun race perks, I find myself really wanted to take part. I am making it a goal in 2013 to take part in a new, fun race and I have my eye on one in particular: the Montreal Color Run!


5) Complete destination race: I completed one destination race in 2012 and I loved the experience. In 2013, I want to take advantage of the numerous work trips I might have to complete another. I have not yet decided what that race will be as I await my work travel schedule to be firmed up, but there might be some interesting options out there for me.

Along those lines, I hope to expand on my Running in Transit series with as many different recaps of running in cities around the world as possible this year. The first of 2013 might be Paris as a side trip after a work trip to Russia is in the works for this April!


With what should be a busy 2013, these five goals will be top of mind for me. That said, I do hope to run a few races (some 5km and 10km), work for PRs as usual, but over and above that, I want these five goals to be the highlight of my running year when I do my 2013 Year in Review 12 months from now.

Stay tuned for updates in 2013 on each of these goals!