OTTAWA -- For the second straight year, runners will lace up their sneakers and participate in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend virtually next spring.

A spokesperson for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend confirms to CTV News Ottawa there will be no in-person race weekend next May due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, Canada's largest race weekend will host a virtual event for runners to aim for a personal best time and help support charities in the Ottawa area.

"One thing we always wanted to do was really provide this idea of certainty for participants. They may not always love the decisions that we made, but we were always certain. We were positive about the direction that we were taking. We were one of the first large events out of the gate to have to make this kind of decision back in 2020, and so we wanted to do that again," said Ian Fraser, President of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. 

"I think it's kind of unfair to sort of say, 'yah, we're going to launch registration for 2021 like nothing's happened here and then we'll cancel again, and we didn't want to do that." said Fraser, about the possibility of planning a large event in the middle of a pandemic.

"We thought that what we did in 2020 as a virtual event was really positive, we put some incredible funds into the community here."

Fraser says Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend will announce plans for the virtual race weekend in mid-November.

"We've been working on this for the last two months, ready to launch in mid-November, having all of our partners in place, our amazing sponsors." asked why Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend decided in October to shift to a virtual event, instead of waiting a few months to see what transpires during the pandemic.

"The answer is fairly simple, that's not a long time down the road," said Fraser, adding it is difficult to predict what will happen in the future.

"It's being practical. We have the most incredible participants I think of any event in this country, and so being honest with them and having an honest conversation, whether they always like the answer or not, is super important, so we're not going to sit there in three months time and pull the rug out from underneath people."

The 2021 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend was scheduled for May 28 and 29.

Fraser says Run Ottawa and Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend will strive to be there with participants through the winter and spring to help them train and get active during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Organizers cancelled the in-person 2020 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend on May 23 and 24 due to the COVID-19 restrictions.  Run Ottawa hosted a virtual Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend for runners.

No refunds were given to registered participants for the 2020 event. Instead, Run Ottawa invited runners to take part in a virtual marathon, half marathon, 10 kilometre, five kilometre and 2 kilometre races.

Run Ottawa had promised all registered participants for the 2020 race weekend would receive a 50 per cent discount code to be used in the fall to register for the 2021 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Fraser says Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend will extend the discount offer to either the 2021, 2022 or the 2023 races for participants.