The headliners crossed the finish line swiftly in the signature event for the Ottawa Race Weekend -- the marathon. Especially for amputee Rick Ball, who shattered the world record by four minutes, reaching the end at 2:57:48.

"It feels good to be the first single-leg amputee to break that three-hour mark," said Ball, from Orillia, Ont. "It's like Roger Bannister breaking the four-minute mile."

Another record was set when Japanese winner Arata Fujiwara broke the tape at 2:09:33, besting the course record by almost a minute. 

In an interview with CTV News translated by his companion, Fujiwara explained it was the cheering that kept him going.

Ethiopia's Merima Mohammed was the first woman to cross the line, with a time of 2:28:19.

Record crowd for Race Weekend's 25th year

Ottawa's race weekend has come a long way since it started in 1975. Only 146 people ran that first marathon. Now it's Canada's biggest race weekend. This time it sold out early for the first time.

There were nearly 40,000 participants, set to select among seven races. Among their ranks were many charity fundraisers, which included a $904,521 collective donation for the Ottawa Hospital Foundation.

For the St. Marseilles family from Cornwall, the race became a family affair.

"My daughter did the kid's marathon this morning," said father John St. Marseille, who ran the half-marathon Sunday morning. "We (also) did the 5 K as a family last night. It's a lot of fun. We'll be back again; this is a great event."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Karen Soloman