OTTAWA -- The COVID-19 pandemic will keep runners off of Ottawa’s roads during Canada’s largest running festival.

Organizers have announced that Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend on May 23 and 24 has been cancelled.

“Cancelling this 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,” said Ian Fraser, Run Ottawa Executive Director.

More than 17,000 people had registered for the race weekend, which includes a 2K, 5K, 10K, half marathon and marathon.

No refunds will be given to registered participants. Instead, Run Ottawa is inviting runners to take part in a virtual Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon later this spring.

“We believe our virtual event will be a great opportunity for runners and walkers to put their winter and spring training to good use,” said Fraser.

All registered participants will receive their Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend race kit, including the medal, t-shirt and a few surprises. Registration will reopen later this spring to allow people to register for the virtual event.

Run Ottawa says all registered participants for this year's event will also receive a 50 per cent discount code to be used in the fall to register fro the 2021 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, set for May 28 and 29.