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Runners hit the streets for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend

Hundreds of young runners hit the pavement for a 2-kilometre run on Saturday, kicking off the 2023 edition of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

"I like running; it gives me more energy," said 9-year-old Lydia Abraham.

Her sister Abigail is also a fan of the sport, especially when it’s next to their mother, Tigest Tilahun.

"Every Sunday, we do the Grasshopper Club from April to January. We do a family run every Sunday," Tilahun said.

A family fun run may be a weekly routine for the family who live in Orleans. But this weekend they turned it up a notch, running along the iconic streets of downtown Ottawa.

"It’s a great opportunity to run. It’s available in our city, it’s a great day. That’s why we’re running,” said Abraham Melesse.

Ottawa Race Weekend draws nearly 30,000 runners, taking them through the streets of Ottawa and Gatineau.

"It’s a nice race! The organization and the place where we pass is really nice. We run beside the Rideau Canal and the river,” said Alejandro Sandoval, who is visiting from Montreal. He has run the full marathon three times in previous years, and this year he’s running the half-marathon.

Saturday’s runs included the Kids Marathon, the 5k and 10k races. All eyes were also on 96-year-old Rejeanne Fairhead. She set a new world record for the fastest 5k time in the women’s 95+ category, with a time of 51:09.

The annual event is also a massive fundraiser for charities. This year, Ottawa Race Weekend's fundraising campaign is expected to surpass $1.5 million.

10K WINNERS

Moh Ahmed of St. Catharines, Ont. and Natasha Wodak, of North Vancouver, B.C. took the top spots in the men's and women's 10K races, resepctively. 

Moh Ahmed, left, and Natasha Wodak, right, pose after winning the Canadian 10K Championships at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. May 27, 2023. (Photo credit: Victah Sailer)

Ahmed finished with a time of 28:21. He was neck-and-neck with Black Creek, B.C.'s Cam Levins, but managed to pull ahead for the final stretch. Levins finished second with a time of 28:39. Jeremy Coughler, of London, Ont., took third place at 29:31. 

Wodak finished with a time of 32:51. Her first place finish marks her third Canadian Championship victory in a row. Leslie Sexton, also of Vancouver, finished second with a time of 33:13. Montreal's Caroline Pomerleau clocked in at 33:16 for third place.

The heat posed a challenge for many runners, organizers said. When the 10K race began, it was already 28 C in Ottawa. 

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