Long before she became a runner, Margaret Buttner was a race organizer. Along with her husband, the duo are part of Lions Gate Road Runners, a Vancouver B.C. based running group that began more than 45 years ago. Through her involvement with Lions Gate, Margaret began volunteering with the BMO Vancouver marathon, eventually co-chairing the event for its 40th anniversary in 2011. Here’s how she got into running races herself and how she keeps her connection going strong.
iRun: After organizing so many events, what or who really inspired you to enter your first race?
Margaret Buttner: The BMO Vancouver Marathon was the turning point in 2011, I co-chaired its 40th anniversary celebration and we were fundraising to get Kathrine Switzer and her husband Roger Robinson to be the keynote speakers. I admire them so much for all they’ve done for the sport of running but if I had to give one reason it was Katherine. I ran the half marathon in Victoria later that year and it wasn’t about being fast, it was about being greeted by Kathrine (and of course my husband and friends) at the finish line. Since then, I’ve realized that as a woman in her 50s there is no reason I can’t go out there myself and run recreationally in organized races.
iRun: You live and run in British Columbia, so how did you get involved with Run Ottawa?
MB: Last fall, I met John Halverson from Run Ottawa, and asked about their social media team. He suggested I apply to be a part of it and I was so excited to see how the event was organized. I’m looking forward to the adrenaline of running the Nation’s capital.
iRun: What distance will you be running at Ottawa Race Weekend?
MB: I am running the 5K rather than the 10K. I wanted to feel good out there and have that golden moment. You feel good at the end, the thing we all say is we don’t “only” run a 5K. I want to celebrate with my friends in the finish area and really enjoy it. Between January and November, I run about 16 races a year between 5 and 10 K and I’m lucky to be able to enjoy every moment.
iRun: While running is part of it, why did you really want to be involved with the social media team?
MB: The Canada 150 celebration is such a significant part of it. Ottawa is a special city, it’s interesting because it’s a smaller city yet there’s still a lot to see and do and easy to navigate as a tourist. Once you are there it’s easy to find your way around. The adrenaline of the whole race weekend is going to be amazing. One of the things I enjoy is chatting with people across the country about running shorter distances how we should feel proud that we’re out there running.
iRun: How does social media really connect runners, pre-race and why has it become such an important communication tool for races?
MB: With social media we are able to connect people with a sense of immediacy and the story telling becomes live and interactive. When you want to be connected to people live, it’s a whole lot easier. As well, personally inviting people that maybe aren’t super competitive to race, with little teasers is kind of a cool way to engage them. It is important to make people aware, that all runners can just get out there and do it.
iRun: What are you looking forward to most, what is going to get you out on race day in Ottawa?
MB: I’d love it if our Prime Minister may be there running and I can’t imagine not being out there. I feel very privileged to be meeting the rest of Team Awesome in person in Ottawa too.