Ottawa Race Weekend 2017 sees fewer runners raise more for charity

Director says relief from fees would free up money to improve event

This year’s Ottawa Race Weekend ended on a hot and sunny note Sunday, with fewer runners than normal raising more money for charity than in previous years.

“It was really difficult because of the heat. But the atmosphere was great, a lot of people [came out]. That made up for it,” said half-marathoner Yann Germon from Montreal, one of the 43,148 runners who took part.

The 2016 races brought nearly 47,000 people to the capital for a scorching weekend that saw organizers muse about cancelling some of the events because of the heat.

While it wasn’t nearly as hot this year, runners still struggled to deal with the temperatures.

“It was really tough, a lot hotter than I expected,” said Dayna Pidhoresky, the top Canadian woman in Sunday morning’s marathon.

“The sun was a lot higher in the sky early in the morning than I thought [it would be].”

Yann Germon Ottawa Race Weekend

Yann Germon from Montreal wore a kilt during the Ottawa Race Weekend’s half marathon on Sunday. He said it helped him get more cheers than usual. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

Fee relief

The race’s 64 charities will divide up the roughly $826,000 that runners raised in 2017, up more than $50,000 from last year’s total and a “new milestone” for race fundraising, according to a press release.

Organizers said just before the weekend started that their goal was to draw around 45,000 runners this year. They pointed to an industry-wide trend of declining run registration, while noting how expensive it’s getting for people to stay in Ottawa hotels during the weekend.

On Sunday, race director John Halvorsen said they’ll be very close to the break-even mark this year, because they leave some wiggle room in their budget.

John Halvorsen Ottawa Race Weekend

Ottawa Race Weekend’s race director John Halvorsen holds a news conference on Sunday. (Andrew Foote/CBC)

He said the non-profit organization has been paying higher fees in recent years to the city and National Capital Commission for things such as policing and closing roads, spending about 10 per cent of their budget — or around $200,000 — on those sorts of items for 2017’s race.

“There’s no official program as far as I know that funds sporting events,” he said.

“Personally I think there should be something for reoccuring sporting events that have a community impact — and by community impact, I look at the economic side more than anything else. If an event is selling out hotels, it certainly is a tourism event.”

Halvorsen said getting a break from those fees would let them invest more money into the event itself and fight the trend of declining registration with more appealing races.

This year’s marathon winners

Top three women:

  • Guteni Imana from Ethiopia, 2:30:18
  • Hiwot Gebrekidan from Ethiopia, 2:30:53
  • Aberash Fayesa from Ethiopia, 2:31:27

Top three men:

  • Elius Kiptanui from Kenya, 2:10:14
  • Seboka Didaba from Ethiopia, 2:10:31
  • Levy Matebo from Kenya, 2:10:48

Top three Canadian women:

  • Dayna Pidhoresky from Vancouver, 2:36:08
  • Arianne Raby from Montreal, 2:41:58
  • Megan Kuikman from Brantford, Ont., 2:48:02

Top three Canadian men:

  • Nicholas Berrouard from Shawinigan, Que., 2:24:41
  • Kimba Djado Abdoul Aziz from Longeuil, Que., 2:33:07
  • Hugh Langley from Ottawa, 2:33:07


Article written by Andrew Foote on the CBC News Ottawa Website. Link to the original article here.

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