Although it is still very much summer, runners around the Ottawa area are looking forward to one of the best seasons to run in the Ottawa Valley – Fall! Summer is full of intense heat and humidity, scorching sun and the need to be very mindful about when and where you run. Fall occurs and the temperatures drop – making it ideal for racing conditions. Ottawa features many great races from September to November, and many of these races are target races for a runner’s season. I have run the Army Run every year since 2010, and will be running again this September, competing in the Half Marathon.
Listed below are ten races that you may be interested in registering for if you have not set up your Fall 2013 race calendar yet. Some races I have not run (but suggested by others), while some are my regular events. Although this is an Ottawa-centric list, if you feel like a destination race, Fall is a beautiful time to visit Ottawa. You could easily see a few museums, go to Gatineau Park to see the Fall colours and take a spa day at Le Nordik. Also – for the beer fans out there – Clocktower Brew Pub features a fantastic Pumpkin Ale that should be making its appearance on tap in just over a month and a half. It is worth the drive just for that ale!
MEC Race #5 – September 8th
Race distances: 5K, 10K, 15K
Parking: Shouldn’t be too big of a concern, depending on other events at Mooney’s Bay. There are free options, as well as metered parking.
I ran MEC Race #3 in Carp in June. It was a very small race, but well organized – and featured no line ups for the washrooms (in a real washroom too – not portapotty styles). If you want a smaller race to work on your time and race technique this is the race for you. There are no T-shirts or medals nor is there chip timing – but there is still lots of fun to be had. You will still get a bib and a race kit, and there is a discount towards your MEC purchases if you stop by after your race. For this kind of no frills race, registration is cheap, $15. Race #5 occurs at Terry Fox Athletic Facility and since the track team is done with the track by that point – the last 400m of the race will be on the track!
Ruby Ribbon Run – September 14th
Race Distances: 1K Fun Run, 5K, 10K
Parking: Downtown = the potential for headaches. Take OC Transpo if you can, otherwise you will be paying for parking.
A new one to the Ottawa Running Race circuit, this race is in support of the Scotiabank AIDS Walk for Life. This race is an evening race, starting at 5:45pm and will probably be a smaller race as well. The race is run downtown, starting at Ottawa City Hall. For those running the Army Run, this might be a good opportunity to work on your race pace, but still leave lots of time for tapering/recovery. Registration costs are fairly affordable at $25 per runner.
Terry Fox Run (many locations – September 15th
Race Distances: 1K, 5K, 10K
Parking: Depends on your location
A Canadian favorite race for a very good cause. The Terry Fox run is held every year in support of the Terry Fox Foundation. Terry Fox is a very inspirational Canadian who attempted to run across Canada in support of Cancer research – but unlike most runners, he only had one leg, the other being amputated due to bone cancer. Every year this race raises so much money towards the Foundation which in turn goes toward’s cancer research. This race is held across Canada, so go to the website and find a course near you!
Canada Army Run – September 22nd
Race Distances: 5K, 21.1K
Parking: Good luck! Take the OC Transpo if you can. I have a secret parking spot that I am not disclosing (it is my secret spot after all), but if P wasn’t driving, I would be taking the bus. There is parking around City Hall/Downtown but it can be very hectic downtown with many road closures. Ottawa U used to be a good spot to park, but many of the parking lots are currently under construction.
So this is a bit of a tease, since the Canada Army Run sold out months ago. The Canada Army Run is quickly becoming a big Ottawa race – starting at 7,000 runners in its first year, to over 22,000 in 2013. I remember back in 2010 signing up for this race in July. This year it was sold out in the spring! I have run both the 5K course and the half marathon course – both are great courses. The 5K course is the traditional run along the canal route. Nice and flat, the route is prime ready for some major PB action. The 2010 Army Run was my first sub-29 5K. The race is rather large, but fairly well organized. I am hoping that race kit pickup goes a bit more smoothly this year. It always is nuts on Friday! The race kit includes a bib, timing chip, some samples, and a great Tech long-sleeved shirt. The half marathon is in black, while the 5K used to be in white (and a tad bit see-through). However, notice the “used to be” in that last sentence, as the 5K shirts have been redesigned! If you do run the 5K race, you will most likely be running with Prime Minister Harpers wife, who has almost always run the race. If you run the Half, you might be running with Governor General David Johnson! The Army Run is one of those races that I do not miss – I love it! Registration for this event is comparable with most larger events – I think I paid $75 for the half marathon.
South Ottawa Race Day – September 29th
Race Distances: 2K, 5K, 10K, 21.1K
Parking: Unsure, but probably good at the Rideau-Carleton Raceway
Mentioned by Kamerine over at Life of K, the south Ottawa Race Day occurs the weekend after Army Run. This race is in support of Brain Cancer research and occurs at the Rideau Carleton Raceway. A medium sized event, this race may be a great alternative for those who did not get into the Army Run, or who do not want to be in such a big crowd. If you go to the website, you can even watch a video of the 5K course – neat! Registration costs are fairly standard anywhere from $30-75 depending on the race.
Somersault Events – Fall Colours – October 13th
Race Distances: 1K, 3K, 5K, 10K, 21.1K, 42.2K
Parking: A bit of a concern. You can park mostly anywhere (within reason) in Cumberland, and there is parking available onsite, but at a price of $5.
A new race to my calendar – the Somersault Fall Colours race is another big Ottawa Race for local runners. You may have noticed a lack of Full Marathons in the last few events, but here is a great Fall Marathon race for you to consider. For those with even bigger goals – the Marathon Route is a certified course by Athletics Canada and Run Canada and is a qualifier for the Boston Marathon. The race is not too from from downtown Ottawa, in beautiful Cumberland. However, for those not familiar with the area – the courses do offer a nice selection of hills for you to hate on. However, since the leaves will be full out in fall colours, this event is bound to be beautiful! I will be running this race for the first time this year, as I took advantage of the free bib exchange that Somersault offers when I couldn’t run Emilie’s Run
9 Run Run – October 19th
Race Distances: 2K, 10K, 21.1K
Parking: Available on site at the schools
A play on 9-1-1, 9 Run Run is a run that benefits the Royal Ottawa’s Youth Mental Health Program as is brought to you by Ottawa’s emergency services. Kristi over at Blog for an Average Runner as run this race and said it is a flat race that is pretty low-key. The race features a BBQ at the end, with choice of a hamburger or chili (cook-off styles) – yum! The race is timed and also gives you a free tech t-shirt if you run the 10K or half marathon. Race prices are comparable, anywhere from $20-$70.
Rattle me Bones – October 27th
Race Distances: 1K, 2K, 5K, 5K ZOMBIE RUN, 10K
Parking: Available on site and at surrounding schools. I’ve never had a problem with parking – HOWEVER, be aware of the traffic conditions. There is only one way in and out of the hospital and last year it was insane. I barely made the race on time last year (so not my fault though)
Another one of my favorite fall races – Rattle Me Bones occurs at the Ottawa Hospital – General Campus and benefits bone cancer research at the Ottawa Hospital. A popular race, this race has been going on for years. I’ve run this race twice and plan on running it again this year. The race is timed, features a great spread of food at the end, and offers a long sleeved t-shirt for registering. This year is extra special as they are introducing a 5K Zombie Run where you will run off-road and be chased by Zombies, who want your brains (but mostly want your flags). I’m probably going to do a zombie run this year! Registration prices are fairly affordable – $40 for the 5K and $45 for the Zombie Run and 10K run. If you do run just the plain ol’ 5 or 10K, feel free to dress up in costume! I wore my Batgirl Costume last year.
Mission Possible – November 12th
Race Distances: 21.1K ONLY
Parking: At a golf course in Kanata – so I am assuming parking will be ok
Another race suggested by Kristi, is the Mission Possible half marathon in support of Ottawa Mission. This race is pretty neat if you ask me. The race occurs at a golf course – and Kristi warns of the rolling hills. BUT – since it is held at the Golf Course, you are welcomed to use their showers, lockers and towel service after. Why would you want to shower immediately after the race? Well because, you are invited to a buffet at the golf course after! Your family and friends can even watch you from a panoramic lounge. The price for this event is $75 – which is the average for most half marathons. You get the usual tech shirt and timed chip stuff – but your tummy will be happy with the buffet afterwards. Family and friends can purchase a ticket to the buffet for $35.
So Ottawa Runners – There are 10 options for you to choose from to race this fall. If you know of any others, please email me and I could always do a round two!
Have you run any of these races?
Which races are your favorite races that you like to run each year?
What is the craziest ‘themed’ race you have ever done?