Ottawa Marathon

Event Details

Location Laurier Ave W & Elgin St


Event Rating


Race Details

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Discipline Expo/Seminar
Start Date/Time May 25, 2017 @ 4:00 pm
End Date/Time N/A
Address Ottawa
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Reviews Write a Review

June 7th, 2016 1:01 pm

Awesome atmosphere and great course. Lots of people come out to support. The only negative thing is - no small perks that come with the race shirt. It might be small and petty, but a nice gesture that I am sure organizers can afford.

May 31st, 2016 4:16 pm

Extremely hot weekend and race officials kept everyone up to date with potential changes. made the decision to adjust start time early enough for racers to be notified and arrive in time for start.
race course was well mark (hard to get lost with 11,000 people around). Water stations were well stocked. due to weather, could have used another sponge station but i understand it is difficult to gather volunteers and set up with such short notice.
end of race flow was constant with no line ups.
good race

May 26th, 2015 11:15 am

This is one of the best race events I have participated in.

The expo is well organized and efficient in race kit pick up.

The crowd support at this event is bar none the best. There are spectators and supporters almost throughout the whole route. I loved this.

The sun was quite hot and many parts of the route are full sun so I carried my own water. I'm glad I did even though there are numerous water and gatorade stations. I loved the fruit station with bananas and oranges.

I would recommend this race to everyone.

CMJ Runner
May 25th, 2015 10:26 pm

Ottawa Race Weekend is my favourite weekend all year! This was my fifth year. I ran both the 10 and the half and had family members in the 2, 5, 10, and half. It is such a great opportunity for a running weekend.

Fantastic expo, well organized races, good shirts and medals. The races are well located, and you can watch both the start and end of all races (not easy for the 2k, and there is a fair bit of walking involved).

There are a lot of people in each race plus many, many spectators, so expect a lot of foot traffic.

This is the best race for spectators and encouragement. Good water stations too, although they ran out of gels in the half.

But book your hotel and register for your race early, because nearly 50,000 runners and their supporters are all trying to book too!

May 24th, 2015 12:01 pm

Always a great energy race but found there was very little on route support this year for 10 km run.

October 27th, 2014 2:02 pm

This was our 3rd year participating in the event weekend. In 2014, I ran the full marathon. The route was beautiful and packed with cheering stations. Water and aid stations were in the perfect locations. The expo was amazing with fantastic vendors. This is by far the best event I have participated in around the world. We have already registered for 2015.

Soo M
September 9th, 2014 5:16 pm

This years marathon was an amazing event from start to finish. The expo was well organized, and I enjoyed the additional free bus tour around the marathon route (though some degree of horror washed over me about how FAR I was about to RUN the next day!)

The route is picturesque and brings you to the Quebec side as well. The race support and rest stops were top notch throughout.

The medal was very cool (I admit this was a prime motivator during the harder bits). So this race receives top banana honours from me. Hope to run it again next year!

May 28th, 2014 8:30 am

TOP BANANA! The event was impeccably organizes and ran. Even better - the entire city is very much into this race weekend.

May 27th, 2014 8:18 am

I ran both the 10k and half-marathon. An absolutely amazing weekend as always. The organization was great, the expo was packed but that's always expected. More than enough water/aid stations on the course and after the race too. This is one of the best events. It has really been built up to be quite the weekend. I have participated three times in the last four years, missing last year (2013). This even never disappoints. The fact that someone gave it zero bananas is laughable. All those complaining about driving during race weekend, here's an idea: don't drive. Come on people, the city essentially shuts down, you have no reason to drive.

Happy half-marathoner
May 26th, 2014 5:12 pm

What a fantastic race weekend.

Bib pickup line was unbelievably efficient and waited less than 1 minute to get my bib.

Expo was as expected, good size.

Found there was ample port-a-potties.

I really loved that there were so many water stations that were well stocked. The buckets of water, sponges and spray hoses were such a welcome surprise. I've never attended such a well hydrated race and it's one of the major reasons I'll be back. Volunteers at these stations were also very encouraging and in good spirits right to the end.

I wouldn't call the half-marathon course all "flat". It's relatively flat but there are also a few hills which are challenging. I'm not sure how they advertise this race but be warned there are a few killer hills.

Ottawa provides a lot of cheering and bands along the way which was wonderful and great for the spirit.

I stuck with a pace bunny and this guy was amazing! He helped me reach my goal and I am so thankful.

The end of the race there's an overpass that can often be misled as the finish but it's not, so don't stop!

Food, getting the medal afterwards were all great.

I really enjoyed this race and will definitely be back one way or another.

May 26th, 2014 1:58 pm

Ran the Ottawa marathon, 2014, and had a great experience.

The course was beautiful with lots of different scenery to enjoy. We ran through the end of the tulip festivals, enjoyed some great neighbourhoods, fantastic views of the rideau canal and ottawa river from both ottawa and gatineau, PQ. Some construction along Sussex road took some views from the Prime Minister's and Governor General's residence but that should be addressed by next year.

The course is hillier than many, but none of the hills were too long or too step providing a varied course.

Fans were around throughout the course, the people of Ottawa and Gatineau were out in full voice. It was a fantastic Anglo-Quebecois mix or runners and spectators

As expected from a major race, the family reunion area was crowded and although there was ample water/gatorade after the finish line, there was insufficient liquid after food pickup.

Overall a great experience.

Tall Tooms
June 25th, 2013 6:56 am

This was my first ever road race experience with my family. It was a lot of fun! A bit big for a first race, but more suitable for experienced racers.

eva toomsalu
June 21st, 2013 1:29 pm

This was my first half marathon in 2007. It was a beautiful area to run through and the spectators were very encouraging. Your first is always emotional. So I loved it. I love Ottawa though.

May 27th, 2013 3:22 pm

Ran the 10 k and the half marathon at the Ottawa race weekend. The race pick-up and expo was busy but was what I would have expected for such a large event. No bags given for t-shirts and bibs which is fine but it would be great if they would let you know in advance. The 10 k was so busy but I was able to get into the corral in enough time and the course had tons of spectators and water stations along the route. The half marathon course was great but there wasn't enough room in the corrals at the beginning and I did get there 15 minutes early and still had to jump the barricade to get in. Either provide more room or limit the number of runners because it makes for an unpleasant start. It was also really difficult when the half marathon and marathon runners joined around together for the last three kilometres. I had to dodge really tired marathoners (which I totally get they had been running for a long time). It was difficult to find enough space to race to the end. In future it might be worth at least having the full and the half finish in two lanes under different clocks right at the finish so for those of us still able to sprint there is room to do that. There wasn't a lot at the end for food some fruit bars and a yogurt which if I had run a full might have been disappointing. Also there is needs to be more water at the end as you move towards the exit towards Laurier/Elgin. I found the bag check worked well and it was fine to walk over to the spot away from all the madness of the finish to collect my bag.

Red Running Hood
May 26th, 2013 9:49 am

Race kit is virtual with coupons. There were so many people lined up to pick up the race kit took over 1 hour to get through all the lines and there was no clear direction where to go after you received your kit. If you do not like crowds then this is not the race for you. Mobs of people trying to get anywhere and long line ups. We never saw the expo as we ran out of time even after getting there over 2 hours ahead. Tech shirts are okay and the medal is below average. Volunteers were great and lots of cheering crowds along the route with music. Bag check etc is too spread out and difficult to find. Parking it horrible. 5K route was nice along canal. Race course end snacks not great yogourt and fruit bars....

July 28th, 2012 12:38 pm

I ran my first half marathon here, great ambiance and lots of energy here!

I was told the course was hilly, but I found it to be rather flat (after training on Fort Henry in Kingston). The start and the end were scenic, but I don't really recall the middle...concentrating too hard on running, I suppose.

I found that there wasn't enough water stations in the latter half of the race, it got pretty hot and there wasn't much shade along the canal. I believe they were every 3k; I'll just bring my own next time. ^_^

Watch out for pot holes in the road off the start, they're hard to see since all the runners are so close together.

The womens-cut shirt is great, a lovely change from all the unisex T-shirts common to most races.

Parking and driving is a nuisance, since many roads are closed and people are everywhere; I`d advise to get a hotel within walking distance and look into late checkout for a shower afterwards.

Love that you guys have an free engraving station for medals right on site; the line-up does get long though. Not your fault, just goes to show how popular it is!

Tons of people around, make meeting arrangements with your group beforehand.

The bag drop-off was very convenient, thanks!

Spring Marathoner
June 21st, 2012 6:53 pm

Never wrote a race review before so here it goes...
On a positive note, this is my second time doing the Ottawa marathon and I'm planning on doing it again next year. I left Montreal Saturday at 12 and ended up walking the last km to the expo because the car just wasn't moving and the expo was closing at 4. My boyfriend was disappointed with his women's medium t-shirt since they ran out of mens small and medium; everyone has to write their t-shirt size when they register so I really don't understand how they could run out of the right size!
As for the marathon itself, the organization was amazing! There were water stations about every 3 km, and every water staion was arranged the same way so you could run through on auto-pilot after you went through the first few. Their could have been a bit more space between the gel station and the beggining of the water tables but i don't usually take gel anyway... There were areas with very few spectators but the last 4 or 5 km, where you know you're almost done but it feels like the longest 5 km you've ever done, had tons of people cheering. The food at the end wan't that great but they did give chocolate milk to make up for it.
Some recommendations for anyone thingking of doing this race:
1. Calculate more than 2hrs to go pick up your race kit and maybe park at your hotel and walk there instead of driving. Not really anyones fault, just too many people all at once in a small city.
2. If you want to be sure to get the right t-shirt size maybe plan on getting there on the Friday instead of the Saturday. Most hotels require a minimum 2 night reservation anyway.
3. Bring some food for after the run just in case.

Happy Runner
May 31st, 2012 12:20 pm

This was my 2nd time running the Ottawa Marathon. I loved the course this year. As novel as it was running down Somerset and Preston last year, it had been quiet and nearly void of spectators at 7 a.m., so I didn't miss it this year. As scenic as the Parkways are, they are lonely/quiet stretches that could use more live music! I also felt that the half-way mark could have used some more fanfare to pump us up for the second half of the race. Despite those few things, I loved the bands and seeing all the people who came out, especially the home stretch down Sussex and the final kms along the parkway. Lots of energy!

The course is well-marked, with ample fuel stations right when you need them (I appreciated the visible H20 signs). Having more than one sponge/gel station was also very appreciated.

You couldn't ask for a better location for the race expo. Having experienced the larger-than-life Boston/New York/Comrades expos, I'm impressed with the growth of Ottawa's.

The weekend offers a distance for everyone, and an opportunity to watch some of the world's elite runners in action. Recommended for any runner's bucket-list!

May 30th, 2012 3:34 pm

A really big event that the organizers pull off quite well. It helps that Ottawa is a small town disguised as a city. Our group had runners in the 5k, 10k and marathon.

The race pick-up etc was very convenient if you were downtown or on public transit. That's an improvement from past years where you could only really access it by car, as it was out in the middle of nowhere somewhere. I managed to pick up numbers for a few people without trouble, so that was good. Makes it easier for groups/teams.

The 5k seemed to lack km markers. Runners mentioned not seeing any. The course is great though: flat, an out-and-back that's not really an out-and-back because it is on either side of the canal makes it more interesting.

The 10k is a classic. Same idea: out and back but with some variety. The elite "handicap" race where the women take off first is quite interesting, though some women who aren't really elite get screwed because they have to race alone, whereas if they wait for the regular start, a 37-39min 10k woman has a bunch of recreational men to help her out. Obviously not something that affects most people, but it is something to think about as this race is usually very good for elites. For a fast runner, the start might be a little busy, unless you have elite status, so for those inbetweens (37-39 women, 32-34 men), it can be a tough situation.

The marathon course seems to change a little bit each year. This year was the best reported. Glad to see the experimental farm has been removed: too remote. Some people complained that seeing the elites coming back the other way in parts is demoralizing, but I think it should be motivating. It's exciting to be part of a race where people are running really fast! The crowd downtown was awesome: as someone mentioned, the signs were clever and motivating. This race always seems to have a good atmosphere. This year the weather was perfect (it wasn't hot, except maybe at the end, but really this was perfect marathon weather), but that's not really relevant to the organizers (could be wrt choosing a date, however!).

Well done.

I spoke to someone (a spectator) who also mentioned he would like to try the Triple Crown.

Elizabeth McEwen
May 29th, 2012 4:55 pm

This was my first marathon. It was tough! For the most part the race was very well organized and executed. Some aspects I particularly enjoyed:

1. The expo was great. Not too big, not too crowded (at least not when I was there).
2. The shirt is cute and fits well.
3. The finisher medal is awesome.
4. The signs and the cheers from the crowd kept me going (and made me smile) on more than one occasion.
5. Everyone was very nice and optimistic.
6. Most of the course was picturesque and flat.

There is some (minor) negative:
1. It was HOT. But that's out of the control of the race director(s). You can't really start the race much earlier than 7:00.
2. The out and back on the "highway" was terrible. No one cheering and the road was slanted. I really hated that part.
3. The weird bread thing that was handed out at the end of the race was gross. What? No bagels?

May 29th, 2012 12:56 pm

This was my second marathon ever. I decided to run this race because of the great reviews I heard in previous years, and I was not let down. It was a beautiful course and very well organized. The race expo made it easy to pick up my race packet, and the corrals were set up well, with the elite runners finishing in under three hours first, and then corral set up in 30 minute increments. One complaint was that they could've had more portable restrooms at the starting corral. But other than that, it was hard to find fault in this race. The course was relatively flat, and the participation of the residents of Ottawa was second to none. There was a lot of energy throughout the course, and the folks cheering seemed genuinely excited about the racers and their accomplishments. The 3:15 pace bunny did a great job keeping me on track, and I finished one step ahead of him to earn my Boston qualifying time with one second to spare!
What an awesome weekend, I highly recommend this event.

May 28th, 2012 10:38 pm

I ran the full ottawa marathon 2012. This was an amazing course! It was very well planned and had really beautiful scenery. The organizers arranged for a tour of the marathon course the day before the race (I know, such a good idea!) On our "tour of the marathon" the guided (an organizer of the race) provided us with all kinds of information on the building/monuments we were passing. This made running the marathon the next day that much more fun and interesting! The course runs along the ottawa river and into quebec (I have to admit, getting cheered on in both french and english is pretty cool!). I found that compared to most other courses this one was pretty flat. The marathon start wasn't too crowed and the pace bunnies (or at least mine) were right on target! In addition, the course was really well designed for friends and family to spectate (an added bonus for my husband who gets dragged to all my races). This was probably why there were so many spectators. Every time I'd turn a corner I'd think "wow there are MORE people here! What did all of Ottawa come to see us run?!?!"

I have ran a number of marathons in the past and this definitely makes the top of my list! I would highly recommend this race to others and plan on running this one again!

May 28th, 2012 10:35 pm

I was pleased to be able to find a half marathon bib at the last minute. I was injured back in March - hip flexor issues, and been seeing a chiropractor and my RMT on a regular basis. I missed a lot of training, but still was hoping to be able to run the full marathon. The deadline was May 4th to switch races, so I planned on just to do it at the Expo. Once I arrived - I was told no, couldn't switch. When I asked what I could do - the guy from Sportstats told me - nothing, guess you can't run - and can just watch. Boo - no refunds either.

The expo was well organized, and easy to get to and pick up your bib and t-shirt. I would agree that the run start earlier than 9 am. The sun was hot, and thankfully there was lots of water stations. The crowd in Ottawa was amazing - so pleasantly surprised to see everyone. Great run, so glad that I was able to participate. Thanks for awesome food, and medals - hats off to the chocolate/vanilla milk!

21k runner
May 28th, 2012 6:47 pm

I run the 2012 Ottawa Marathon. The organization was perfect. The temperature was perfect at the beginning but after the half mark, the sun was very tough. The course was not but a lot less nicer than I tought it would be. A lot of go to the end of this strectch and go back. So you see faster runners crossing you and it is quite demotivating. The strecht in the rockhill is difficult especially after running 30Ks. On the saturday, although the organization inside was very efficient, driving a car was just hell. I missed the expo wasting more than an hour in the car to make just about 1km. A real nightmare of a trafic jam. In summary, a good marathon but I don't think I will come back next year. Too crowded and the course is so so.

Connor Adkins
April 6th, 2012 9:43 am

i thought thaT THE 10K was a good race not cold but not hot with enough water staions and good crowd controla great run

Jim Tobin
April 5th, 2012 3:48 pm

I really enjoyed this race (half), but it was too warm, an earlier start like 7:30 am would be most other late spring races.

Peter D
March 22nd, 2012 9:12 am

They should bring back the Triple Crown (2-time defending champ here).....(: I ran the 1/2 once in 1995 and it snowed heavily, poor it's super hot so practice your water drinking skills...

Rodrigo Gonzalez-Lara
March 22nd, 2012 8:37 am

I have run 2 times the full Ottawa Marathon. It is a beatiful course that combines the scenery of the Ottawa/Gatineau region, including canals, rivers and bridge crossings. It is a flat course but does have some inclines to make it enough of a challenge. There were also very accessible viewing areas for the many cheering spectators, which is important. I highly recommend this race. It also has a personal significance for me because the second time I ran it I made the Boston Qualafing time

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