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Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend cancelled, replaced with virtual event over coronavirus

Runners taking part in the Ottawa Race Weekend half-marathon are seen in front of the Shaw Centre downtown on Sunday, May 27, 2012.
Runners taking part in the Ottawa Race Weekend half-marathon are seen in front of the Shaw Centre downtown on Sunday, May 27, 2012. The Canadian Press Images / Nathalie Madore

The popular 2020 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend has been cancelled because of the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic and will be replaced with a virtual event, the not-for-profit group that organizes the major running festival announced Monday.

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More than 17,000 people were already registered to participate in one of the six races and marathons scheduled for May 23 and 24, according to a news release from Run Ottawa.

“Cancelling the event is a tremendous disappointment for all of us, but it is the right and only thing to do given the ongoing COVID-19 containment measures,” Ian Fraser, the organization’s executive director, said.

“We believe our virtual event will be a great opportunity for runners and walkers to put their winter and spring training to good use, and we look forward to welcoming our participants to the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in 2021.”

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As part of the virtual event, registered runners will receive their race weekend kit — including their medal and T-shirt — and can “earn” that swag “by running or walking on their own, while respecting and promoting all public health physical-distancing guidelines,” Run Ottawa’s statement said.

The group said it will partner with Sportstats to create “a shareable virtual finish line” and race results and will reopen registration soon to people who hadn’t already registered for the race weekend.

Further details about the virtual event will be announced “shortly,” Run Ottawa said.

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The local organization typically counts on the help of about 2,000 volunteers to put on the annual race weekend, which includes the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, the Scotiabank Ottawa Half-Marathon, Ottawa 10K, Ottawa 5K, Ottawa 2K and Scotiabank Ottawa Kids Marathon.

Run Ottawa said all registered runners will receive a 50 per cent discount code they can use to register for the race of their choice at the 2021 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, already scheduled for May 28 and 29, 2021.