It’s been a long time since any of us stood on the start line waiting for the gun to go off.
Run to Empower was my first in person race in almost two years and after the relative isolation of COVID-19 the idea of going to a race with other people was a little odd. Kudos to Run Ottawa for requiring all runners to be fully vaccinated. It may not be legally required but it certainly made us all feel much better about returning to in-person racing.
Run to Empower was actually two events. The Run to Empower 5K, open to all runners and the Ottawa’s Fastest Women 5K which required proof of a sub 22-minute 5K since 2018. Both races were held in the Experimental farm on a new course. The open race started at 8:30 am and the fastest women started at 10:00 am.
I watched the first race and ran the second. Both were well organized and executed. Runners were required to wear masks before the race and they were asked to keep them on as they crossed the start line. The runners were also well spread out before the start. With chip timing it does not really matter when you cross the start line. Bins were provided so you could drop your mask once you crossed the line.
Once the masks came off, there were a whole lot of smiling faces under them! You could see the sparkle in their eyes as they headed off for their first in person race in a very long time.
I have to confess that running in the Ottawa’s Fastest Women 5K was a little intimidating. There were 32 women registered and many of them were younger than my children are! In a field of 32 there is nowhere to hide. It has also been a very long time since I ran a 5K. The bib numbers were assigned by last name so I was assigned bib F1!
We lined up at the start and I tried to stay at the back but that is hard to do when there are so few runners! The course was basically flat (total elevation of 10 m) with a few turns, only one of which was a hairpin turn. The road was a little wet but this course has the potential for a fast time. The course is certified and there was prize money provided by Bushtukah for the top five runners.
There were volunteers everywhere you needed them and even a water stop although it was on the wrong side of the road if you were running the tangent. We were given masks at the finish line and cans of Kichesippi Beer’s Warrior Woman APA. It was only 10:30 am so I drank the chocolate milk instead.
The top 5 runners all ran sub 19, to put that into perspective 20 women actually ran this race and 5 were sub-19. At Ottawa Race Weekend in 2019 there were 3744 women in the race and only 3 of them ran sub-19. Susan, Yvonne and I all ran sub-22 so guess that means we will be back again next year.
Overall, great race put it on your calendar for 2022. One final Kudos to Finisher Pix for the outstanding race photos. I think they were the best I have ever had in all my years of running!