Ottawa Race Weekend Expo


Canada Ottawa Panorama.jpg

A view of Parliament Hill from Quebec. (Wikimedia Commons)

Ottawa Race Weekend (ORW), the biggest running event in this city, is finally here.  Over the two day event approximately 48 000 runners will take to the streets and participate in a world class road race.  An amazing six events are scheduled: the family 2k and the kids’ marathon, plus the 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon distances.  And to make the weekend even more exciting, it is the 40th anniversary of the marathon.  In 1975 a small group (by today’s standards) of 146 runners – three of them women – participated in Ottawa’s first marathon.  This Sunday there will be 7000 runners at the marathon start line.

A view of Ottawa, Gatineau and the Ottawa River

There are a number of reasons that ORW has become such a popular event.  The courses are beautiful and take in all the major sights of Canada’s capital city, including Parliament Hill, The Rideau Canal (a World Heritage Site), and the Ottawa River.  Marathoners and half marathoners get to run in two provinces, crossing the river from Ontario into Quebec and back again.  It is a race that is known for its organization but is perhaps even more known for its incredible support from the public.  No matter what distance you choose, you are guaranteed to see throngs of people cheering you on.

24 April 2011

The Ottawa Convention Centre, home of ORW Race Expo. (Wikimedia Commons)

Race Expo started last night, so the boys and I headed downtown after school to pick up kits and do some shopping.  Thursday evening is definitely the time to go – check out this picture of the “lines” at bib pick up:

No lines at an event that has 48 000 participants :)

No lines at an event that has 48 000 participants 🙂

I had seven bibs to get for three different races and it couldn’t have been easier!  After picking up the bibs, we headed upstairs to get the shirts.  After last year’s nice light blue shirts for the 5k and the half marathon, the white shirts were a little disappointing.  Do people actually like white tech shirts?  If it rains they are virtually see through and once you sweat in them they never come clean again.  Thankfully though the full marathon shirt is a winner:




Expo had all the stalls you would expect to see and the kids were excited to spin the discount wheel for Running Room.  We stopped by iRun and filled out “bibs” to pin on the wall:

My iRun because...

My iRun because…

Luke's iRun because...

Luke’s iRun because…

Evan's iRun because...

Evan’s iRun because…

I did a little souvenir shopping and picked up a comfy long sleeve t:



I am also bought for the first time a Columbia Omni Freeze shirt.  There are special tiny rings in the material that absorb your sweat and are supposed to cool you down.  Staff had sample pieces of material to put on your arm which they sprayed with water.  After a few minutes I could feel a slight tingling and cool sensation.  I’m hoping I can feel that when I am running in 20+ degrees Celsius.

Being at Expo definitely brought out my nerves/excitement (how do you tell the difference?) for my second marathon.  This week has been busy enough that I have’t been as hyper-focused on the upcoming race as I was the first time I ran this distance.  Actually, I think I may have even been in a state of denial for the past several days.  But last night I had a tough time getting to sleep and when I finally did my dreams were about running and the race.  There is no more denying that on Sunday I am running 42.2 km.

Next post, my goals and game plan… just have to figure them out first!

2 thoughts on “Ottawa Race Weekend Expo

  1. Rebecca

    I’m pretty disappointed that the half shirts are white – I will not wear it since it’s way too see through and as you said white+sweat is not good! It will be a throw awa layer for NYC. I wish they had some merchandise that said half marathon on it – but I’m happy with my saucony shirt.

    One of my running-twitter friends worked at the Columbia booth 🙂 I’m hoping the omni freeze works!


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