First the good news: Total runners/participants in Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend numbered 43,148, according to an official figure released Sunday.
Now the not so good news: That was down about 3,000 from last year and more than 5,000 less than the peak of 48,500 in 2015, the 40th anniversary of the first Ottawa Marathon. There were about 46,000 last year.
“Is it demographics, age, options for other events, other activities like triathlon, cycling, obstacle races? Is it that our hotel pricing factors into that? Probably a little bit of all of them,” race director John Halvorsen said.
None of those phenomena is truly within the control of race weekend organizers, so the only way they can combat the effects is, in Halvorsen’s words, to “make the event special, make the event memorable. We try to do that all the time.”
Halvorsen said Run Ottawa representatives have twice relayed to Tourism Ottawa the concerns expressed by visiting race weekend participants about hotel costs. The response, he added, was that pricing was driven by supply and demand and that local hotel managers didn’t have full control over pricing options.
This year, Halvorsen said, he heard reports that some hoteliers were asking $250 or more per night for a minimum two-night stay.
Bucking the trend of either stagnant or declining registration this year was the two-kilometre Kids Marathon on Sunday morning, which showed an increase for 2017, he added.
Work on next year’s race weekend program has already begun in at least one sense, including preliminary design of the tech-fibre shirts given to participants,” Halvorsen said. Two options were considered for 2017, but organizers decided to produce one featuring the colour red with a nod to Canada 150 festivities in the national capital region.
The breakdown on the final numbers for 2017 included: marathon, 5,293; half-marathon, 13,438; 10-kilometre race, 10,903; five-kilometre race, 8,919; two-kilometre race, 3,259; Kids Marathon, 1,336.
Charity challenge produces $826,000
The three-year-old Scotiabank Charity Challenge produced a record sum of $826,000 for 64 registered charities from 1,800 fundraisers, race weekend organizers said Sunday.
The largest portion was $310,386 raised for The Ottawa Hospital by a collection of teams supporting various causes under the banner of Run for a Reason.
Fundraising totals in the previous two years were between $700,000 and $800,000.
Article written by Gord Holder on the Ottawa Citizen Website. Link to the original article here.