Big news this morning for the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon, which announced at a press conference this morning that they have been awarded the International Amateur Athletic Federation (IAAF) Gold label standard. What this means is that the race, which started in 1975 and takes place this year on May 29, now joins Boston, New York, Chicago and Toronto as the only races in North America with the Gold Label standard. Ottawa already the prestigious Gold for their 10K event, but now the marathon has the designation, too.
“This second IAAF Gold label designation not only solidifies our event’s status as one of the very best in the world, but is a testament to the hard work of the entire Run Ottawa team, our partners and sponsors, and the thousands of volunteers who make our event more successful every year,” John Halvorsen, President of Run Ottawa and Race Director of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, said. “I am beyond proud.”
Anyone who’s run Ottawa knows that the course and spectators are beyond compare. But this designation now propels the race to true international heights, as the Gold Label status signifies caliber of the elite field, the breadth of media coverage and logistical execution of the race. What this means for the average hoofer is that you probably won’t have trouble in the baggage claim line and your bagel is almost certain to be fresh. (In all seriousness, what this really means is you won’t get caught in traffic on your route and your timing, done by Sportstats, will be accurate and fair).
Running across Canada continues to grow and flourish and this morning’s announcement is another step along the way of our country becoming a true mecca for the sport. In the announcement from Ottawa marking the Gold label status, a remark near the end mentioned that the race had 5,800 marathoners in 2015. The goal is to have that number reach 10,000 runners in 2017, when the country will celebrate its 150th birthday.
For anyone planning a spring marathon in their future, the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon now seems just about impossible to beat. See you there.