OTTAWA RACE WEEKEND
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The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend will attract more than 40,000 runners, people of all ages and skill level, to its May 24 and 25 event.
Race weekend will generate $27 million in Ottawa region EMC sports - He also remains involved with organizational details, like working with its supplier on course signs and structures. “We’re talking six-figure costs here, just for structures and signage,” says Halvorsen. Logistics, including those involving security, are also part of the pie. SECURITY
Security remains an important part of running the race weekend, a concern punctuated by last month’s bomb blasts at the Boston Marathon. “Our event now is public enough that we have to expect it’s possible, whether it’s an emergency of this nature (with bombs) or an emergency of lesser nature that still needs some thought process to deal with it,” says Halvorsen. For the first time, Ottawa Race Weekend officials and public responders will take part in a table-top emergency exercise, so people know how to respond if there’s an extreme emergency. “We’re probably unique in the sense that we have an on-site medical team that can address a ton of medical issues,” says Halvorsen. That weekend team consists of 40 doctors and 150 nurses from the Ottawa Hospital. The event also features ski patrol members on bikes and roving patrols, who pick up runners in trouble and work in collaboration with Ottawa and Gatineau paramedics, firefighters and police. There will also be signs reminding Ottawa Race Weekend participants not to leave bags unattended. There may also be additional security at baggage checks. Meanwhile, The Tamarack Race Weekend staff continue to look for
efficiencies in its operations. “We try to reuse, but we also try to improve. In the perfect world, we would do things different, but we don’t live in a perfect world,” says Halvorsen. “We can’t close any road we want because of traffic impact. Our approach is that we see where we’d like to be. We’ve seen what the main races are like, either with Jim (Robinson) travelling to them or my running experience, so we ask how we can get there. “An example is the marathon, which was a two-loop course for years. Both Jim and I knew no world-class marathon has a twoloop course, it just doesn’t happen, unless you’re talking the Olympics, and then it doesn’t matter because you’re only talking 60 runners. “Second of all, we have a city with a lot of tourist attractions. We are still the capital of Canada. We have a lot of national and regional monuments, whether it’s a war museum, the art gallery or Parliament Hill. So we said to ourselves, how can we make a course that incorpo-
rates as much of that as possible, still living in the context of traffic difficulties, construction, and all that kind of stuff.” BIG ECONOMIC IMPACT
Meanwhile, Halvorsen and the race weekend team continue to strive to make the course attractive to out-of-town runners, which make up about 40 per cent of entrants. Ottawa Race Weekend also generates an economic impact of $27 million in the region. That impact is similar to what the region has experienced for such prominent events as the Juno Awards and the National Hockey League All-Star Game. “Having reached that point now, and having city and NCC (National Capital Commission) officials understand that, has been helpful for obvious reasons.
The support we get now (from the city) is quite good,” says Halvorsen. “There are still some challenges once in a while, but that’s nothing unusual. “Our biggest beef (is the lack of) government grants,” adds Halvorsen. “We’re either classified as a charity, which we are not, or as a sporting event, which apparently doesn’t “get any funding, unlike other festivals that are arts-related that get funding. We’ve almost yet to receive anything.” Meanwhile, Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend can boast about being home to the largest running expo event in Canada, with more than 100 vendors for the Thursday-throughSaturday event. On the pavement, the race schedule Saturday has the 2k at 4 p.m., 5K at 5 p.m., and 10K at around 6:30 p.m. Sunday is home to the marathon
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(the only Ottawa Race Weekend event with more male entrants), kids marathon (in which participants run their marathon’s last kilometre after doing the equivalent of 41 kilometres of exercise) and half-marathon. Those start times are 7, 8 and 9 a.m. respectively. Halvorsen loves to watch the competitive elite races, but he says many non-elites also play a special role in race weekend. For example, the race director says it’s emotional seeing average runners so excited while finishing their first marathon or half-marathon, with friends and other spectators on hand. “The emotion at the finish line can be huge,” says Halvorsen. “It’s rewarding to know you played a role in that, and they’re excited and happy to do the event that you created.”
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This report is courtesy of Dave Norcott, Owner/Broker of Record, Century 21 Townsman Ltd. Brokerage. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract. Copyright © 2012
Manotick News EMC - Thursday, May 23, 2013