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Around Ottawa, Canada

Army Run Ottawa

I am not a runner, but after cheering for my friends at the 2011 Army Run in Ottawa, I wish I was!

…and they’re off. Army Run, Ottawa Sept 18, 2011.

The Army Run is described as “an experience you don’t want to miss” and I can see why!  16,000 people, military and civilian, lined up to do the 5km and half marathon distances on what can only be described as a glorious September day in Ottawa.  I was there to cheer on my friend for his first half marathon, yet knew very little of the event that was about to unfold.  Turns out that the Army Run is the fastest growing running event around.   It serves as a great opportunity to thank the men and women who serve our country in so many ways, both at home and over seas.  The run raises funds for Soldier On and Military Families Fund.  More than anything though, the Army Run demonstrates a spirit of camaraderie that is felt throughout the event with people joined in a common goal.

Governor General’s Foot Guard.

Electric with the excitement of the runners, the festivities were kicked off with the Governor General’s Foot Guard and a cannon rather than the traditional starter’s pistol.  The Army Run has a definite military feel.  Military personnel, including those who have been injured and disabled, and civilians alike took to the streets.  Some military members dressed in full field gear – including a group of RMC (Royal Military College) cadets in full hazmat suits!  The race shirts given to all participants have sleeves of camouflage – just another hint at the military theme.

Not something you see running down the streets of Ottawa every day! Must be the Army Run.

The half marathon route took the runners through many scenic areas of Ottawa, running past Parliament Hill, crossing the Ottawa River twice, before running past the Governor General’s Residence, returning along Sussex Drive and back to the finishing chute at City Hall.  Spectators of all ages lined the route.  Cheers of encouragement brought smiles to many as the course swept through town.  At the 17 km point, runners were jubilant as spectators yelled encouragements – only 4 kms to go!  For some, the evidence of their first run was painted on their faces.  Friends encouraged their running partners to keep it up – almost there.  Kids lined the sidewalks with signs for their parents as they waited anxiously to see them run by.  As the runners crossed the finish line, they were greeted by a line of honour – soldiers handing out dog tags as finisher’s medals for the event.

Mid run pick me up.

The half – it’s not just a long run for the runners! Army run cheer squad at 17 kms.

The Army Run is a full weekend event with family fun on Friday and Saturday.  When racers pick up their race kits, they are invited to check out the military display and talk to the soldiers at the Cartier Square Drill Hall. A popular diversion for kids were the tanks on display.  There is also a sports exhibit hall with the opportunity to buy last minute running gear, or learn about running tours that are available to the running tourist (how about a run in the Bahamas???)

Military exhibit.

If you are a runner looking for a weekend in Ottawa, why not add the Army Run to your “to do” list of runs.  Who knows, I may just get out there for next year!

Looking for more runs: check out the Color Run – we headed down to Boston for the New England Color Run – the happiest 5K on the planet and definitely the most colorful!


About Anita Mac

The bucket list just keeps growing! The more I cross off - the more exciting new destinations and activities I find! I have been fortunate enough to travel a considerable distance over the years. My love of many things, including travel, cycling, kayaking and photography fit together like hand and glove. I have to keep asking myself....where to next? I am happy to share my travels and photography through my blogs: http://traveldestinationbucketlist.com and http://anitamacphotos.wordpress.com Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! On to the next adventure!


12 thoughts on “Army Run Ottawa

  1. It was a glorious day! So many people I know look forward to this run all summer.

    Posted by trishmurray | September 18, 2011, 8:29 pm
  2. I wish we had runs like this in Vancouver, it’s usually just the Vancouver sun or a fundraiser. Hopefully I’ll be ready for the next marathon 🙂 still trying to get past the 2 miles I do daily lol!

    Posted by andy1076 | September 19, 2011, 11:49 am
    • That is exactly what my friend said! He is military and said it was terrible that they had to travel so far for the army run! Should have one in each capital city! At least Ottawa is a beautiful city – people can make a weekend or week out of the run! Loads of other stuff to do too!

      Posted by Anita Mac | September 19, 2011, 2:10 pm
  3. I will share this one with my 16-year-old who is right now in cross country season (5K) and runs the 3200 for track. He has a goal of running on every continent and in North America in every state and province. I will tell him to add this one to his bucket list. Thanks!

    Posted by customtripplanning | September 26, 2011, 2:53 pm
    • I am glad you found the information useful. Ottawa has a number of really good races – depending on time of year. I believe that May has the biggest even for running – Ottawa Race Weekend. In the fall (October) is another beautiful run – not sure on all the distances, but it is in the beautiful autumn colours. All the best to your son – what a great goal to have!

      Posted by Anita Mac | September 26, 2011, 3:01 pm
  4. I wish you’d told me that you were there! I woukd have been looking for you as i tried not to throw up on my shoes…

    Posted by Jean-Pierre | October 5, 2011, 4:41 pm


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