Team Awesome

What is Team Awesome?

Team Awesome is a group of enthusiastic runners (and social media fanatics) who are participating in the 2019 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend (TORW) and want to share updates about their training and race weekend information, as well as support other runners along the way.

Meet our 2019 members and follow them on social media as they prepare for #RunOttawa2019.

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Nadine Astresses | Marathon


Nadine Astresses

Nadine is originally from France but has been living in Canada for 17 years. Sports have always been a part of her life, from a very young age, and she makes sure to include them in her day-to-day activities. Over the years, the benefits to her body, mind and health have kept her engaged on the path of physical activity. She began running in 2013, starting with 5K and 10K runs, then the 21K run. This year she proudly completed her first marathon. Crossing the finish line after several hours of intense effort is incredibly satisfying and the reward of diligent training. She is happy to share her enthusiasm with those around her, including friends and colleagues, who often tell her that she inspires them. Join her on this exciting adventure. She’ll be waiting for you at the finish line!

Melanie Baker | Marathon


Melanie Baker

Melanie has always considered herself a runner, but did not fall in love with the sport until 2005 after running her first 5k. Since then, she has completed numerous races of various distances including 17 marathons and 2 ultra-marathons. Melanie has participated in marathons all over the world, including a semi-elite place in the Tokyo Marathon. In 2017, Melanie earned her Abbott World Marathon Majors Six Star medal.  She will head back for her third Boston Marathon in 2019.

Committed to always reaching higher, both in running and life, Melanie runs daily and shares her passion for the sport with others in the running community. She aims to set an example for her three children of the benefits of hard work, goal setting and commitment.

Melanie is honoured to be a member of #TeamAwesome and is looking forward to running her 2nd Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon with fellow runners from across the world.

Catherine Berry | Marathon

Musquodoboit Harbour

Catherine Berry

Catherine began her running journey six years ago during rehab for an injured back. “I knew I needed to find the motivation to continue those exercises and running was really the only thing I could do consistently while on the road for work,” says Catherine.

She began with a Learn to Run 5K program from MEC and ever-so-gradually increased her distance, completing her first Marathon at the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon in 2017. She qualified to apply for Boston t, alas, was a mere 18 seconds too slow to get in.

“I loved my first Marathon in Ottawa, loved the course and the spectator support, and very keen to come do it again…only faster.” She is pleased to share her journey with #TeamAwesome readers.

Catherine is a retired airline pilot living in Musquodoboit Harbour, Nova Scotia. She can be found on Twitter as @Muskadobbit, and, of course, out running on the Musquodoboit Trailway.

Karl Bolduc | Half-Marathon


Karl Bolduc

Karl Bolduc, a native of Lévis, Quebec, has always been passionate about being physically active. In 2012, he decided to challenge himself by participating in his first half marathon.

As someone accustomed to pushing himself beyond his limits, Karl has participated in many different official sporting events, including 12 half marathons, two marathons, and one triathlon.

This year, Karl is happy to run his favourite race again but this one will be extra special since it’s his first run as a new dad. As a matter of fact, he’ll be bringing his son with him on the run!

You can track Karl’s preparation on social media.

Lee Carson | Marathon


Lee Carson

Lee Carson is a wife, mother, teacher, and runner.  After having her first child, she took a 2.5 year break from running as she struggled to balance being a mom, wife, and teacher.  Shortly after the birth of her second child, Lee decided to get back into running as a way of dealing with her post-partum anxiety.

It’s been a year since Lee started running again, and in that year she competed in four 5k races, 2 halfs, one 30k, and a two full marathons.  She is dedicated to working towards getting her speed back and break her race times from before having kids.  She is also on a mission to run a marathon in every province.  To date, she has run Quebec City, New Brunswick, and Ontario twice.  She is excited to be part of Team Awesome and is looking forward to running a marathon in our Capital City!

Tegan Chappell | 10K


Tegan Chappell

Tegan is originally from a small town in Saskatchewan. She has always had a passion for sport and fitness. Following a significant injury in 2007, doctors told her she would never recover enough to run again. Following years of failed treatment, she finally got results. In 2014 she completed her first 5km, developing a newfound passion and appreciation for the sport.

Since then, Tegan has completed three marathons (with a fourth coming up in January) and over a dozen half marathons. After racing back-to-back marathons, progressively increasing both mileage and intensity, Tegan needs a reprieve from the long runs and schedule demands of marathon training. So her new challenge is taking on the 10k distance, aiming for a personal best at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. She is so excited to be a part of Team Awesome this year!

Jessee Chouinard | Half-Marathon


Jessee Chouinard

Jessee has been passionate about running since 2010. It was an elementary school teacher who got her interested in the sport when he talked about how he was training for a marathon. She became fascinated with what the mind and body can accomplish, and the idea of running a marathon and even an ultra-marathon has stayed with her ever since. How far can one go? Is there a limit to what we can do? Jessee completed her first official half marathon at age 14, in 2012. She has run ever since and encouraged those around her to explore this amazing sport. For her, running is a way to achieve balance and feel better, both physically and psychologically. She sees running as a journey. Despite the ups and downs, you should never give up, but it’s also important to keep it enjoyable, day after day.

Julie Cousineau | Voyageur Challenge


Julie Cousineau

Julie is back this year as captain of the Francophone section of Team Awesome. You’ll often see her out and about with various groups in the region, running around the Rideau Canal or in Gatineau Park, or on the amateur circuit where she participates in over 20 official runs every year. Julie is a seasoned runner. Her Facebook page contains information on Ottawa runs and other topics related to the sport: events, training, nutrition, equipment, fun facts, etc. Follow her page for tips on running, information about Ottawa, and updates on her training regimen. This year, Julie will be testing her limits by tackling our famous #Voyageur Challenge for the first time!

Isabelle Desjardins-David | 10K


Isabelle Desjardins-David

Why did Isabelle choose running? Initially, to get her daughter interested in sports, and personally, to stay in shape, keep weight off, and continue challenging herself. Running has gradually become a way of life for her entire family, and her motivation for running has evolved. Stage racing and long-distance runs remain her personal objectives, but the social aspects of running took on greater importance when she realized that her personal goals were inspiring others. Coaching other club runners, running as a pace rabbit to allow others to meet their goal times, helping her father on his first run by suggesting he do the 5K race, and this year, in Ottawa, having the privilege to accompany her daughter on her first 10K run!

Isabelle is delighted to join Team Awesome and encourage families to participate in the exciting Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon by sharing how she prepares over the next few months. (Get ready for some exotic photos from around the world!)

Maxime Desmarais | Marathon


Maxime Desmarais

Owing to a desire to excel and a sometimes-intense personality, Maxime Desmarais likes to test his limits and see just how far he can run. From a young, overweight dad pushing a stroller in 2012, he worked his way up to an ultra-marathon (80K!) runner in 2018. It was a slow and arduous process that taught him about his limits and helped him gain knowledge and experience. Maxime is an extrovert who loves sharing his passion, expertise, and enthusiasm.

Maxime has run regularly since 2015 to improve his physical and psychological health. Running allows him to distance himself from daily worries and problems. When he runs, he focuses on breathing, listening to his footsteps, and watching the scenery. It makes him feel great and improves his health. A simple activity that has far-reaching benefits!

Feel free to contact Maxime for advice about running or other topics. He’s always happy to share his passion and help others make progress.

Tracy DeWolfe | Marathon


Tracy DeWolfe

Tracy started running in 2010 with the Running Room in Bedford, Nova Scotia. After numerous clinics with varying degrees of commitment, she fully committed herself to running after friends convinced her to run her first half marathon at Disney. This was the start of many runcations with a few to Ottawa for the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Tracy has chosen to run the marathon during this year’s race weekend. She ran her first marathon in Ottawa in 2015 and she’s been back for every Race Weekend since. It is one of her favourite races. This year will be her fourth marathon. She would like to break her personal best of 5:09 but that’s not the focus this time around. She wants to finish strong and smiling regardless of her time.

She’s looking forward to sharing her training with her friends through the Nova Scotia winter and follow along with your training.

Julie Donaldson | 5K


Julie Donaldson

Growing up, Julie hated running, partly because she found it boring. However, 6 years ago, after the birth of her daughter, Julie turned back to running as a way to get back into shape so she started running with her daughter in the stroller. To the astonishment of her family and friends, Julie signed up for three 5K races and one 10K race her first year. She now has successfully completed various 5K, 8K and 10K races. While Julie loves running here in Ottawa, she is hoping someday to go run one of the Walt Disney World races.

Julie is so proud to be selected as part of Team Awesome, she is looking forward to sharing her training journey and encourage others to start running too!

Maude Dufort-Labbé | Half-Marathon


Maude Dufort-Labbé

Maude began running almost 10 years ago. After her first summer of running, she proudly completed her first 10K event at the Oasis Montreal Marathon and remembers finding it long! After a number of years running on the road, she discovered trail running and immediately fell in love with it: the shorter runs, the feeling of freedom and solitude, and especially no more racing against the clock. Nevertheless, she’s back on the road this year and the real test will be to see whether trail running can help her improve her time in the half marathon.

When she’s not running, Maude loves to cross-train with her bike, skis and snowshoes. Yoga is her best ally when it comes to preventing running injuries, which have been frequent in recent years. Few sports rival the emotions that runners experience, which is why she keeps doing it. She hopes to set a personal record in the half marathon during the 2019 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Linda Duval | Half-marathon


Linda Duval

As you can see in Linda Duval’s photo, she’s a very animated and expressive person. Running has not come easy to her. Linda used to be obese but got back in shape in 2009. She started with walking, then speed walking, then race walking, before finally moving on to running. In 2015, she founded the Facebook group Marcheurs et coureurs du Québec (MCQ) [walkers and runners of Quebec], which now has nearly 12,500 followers. Linda and her spouse, André, travel the province on weekends, promoting and sharing tips on healthy living. They help people discover the joys of walking and running. The MCQ group also assists families with children living with cancer. Linda has been involved in cancer work since 2012. She already has a number of half marathons under her belt, including two in Ottawa and two elsewhere in Quebec. To her, the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is the best race in Quebec, owing to its ambiance, organization and volunteers.

Michelle Jager | 5K


Michelle Jager

Michelle never meant to become a runner. She signed up for a half marathon in 2016 after having her second daughter as a way to cope with anxiety, stress, and post-partum depression. Along the way she fell in love with the training – and once she crossed that first finish line she was hooked! She has since run lots of 5Ks, 10Ks, 7 half marathons, and 1 full marathon, and is so grateful for all that running has brought to her life.

Michelle loves the atmosphere of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend (TORW), and can’t wait to run the 5k – her favourite distance – in 2019 as part of Team Awesome. She believes runners are an amazing and inspiring group, and TORW completely captures that energy. To Michelle, the community is just as important as the sport, and she cant wait to share her training and be inspired by other runners leading up to the race.

Outside of running, Michelle loves strong coffee, good plant-based food, and all things Disney. When she’s not running (or talking about running!), she can usually be found in the kitchen baking up a storm, somewhere quiet with a good book, or hanging out with her two girls and three cats.

Ian Joiner | Marathon


Ian Joiner

The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend has been an annual tradition for Ian since 1999 when he and some graduate school classmates ran their first marathon. He is excited to return to the marathon distance and has a 2019 goal to qualify for the Boston Marathon in 2020, which he first ran in 2004.

For the past eight years, Ian has been an official pace bunny for over 20 half marathon, 10K, and 5K events across eastern Ontario. “Volunteering as a pacer is incredibly motivating and quite humbling.” says Ian. “Before and during each event, you hear so many amazing stories of runners’ journeys to just get to the starting line. It’s an honour to play a role in helping them to the finish line.”

Ian is inspired by his wife and three young kids, all of whom are amazing athletes and leaders in a wide range of sporting and other endeavours.

Jenna Ladd | Half-Marathon


Jenna Ladd

In 2000, Jenna ran Ottawa Race Weekend with her soccer team as part of training. The weekend became routine and essential part of Jenna’s life. After taking a break from running in her mid-teens, Jenna returned to long distance running while attending York University, initially as a means to lead a healthier lifestyle. Eventually, the old passion reignited and Jenna ran her first marathon in 2008 at age 20.

In 2010, at 21, Jenna ran the Boston Marathon (after qualifying at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend the year before) as the youngest Canadian athlete at the event. By 2018, Jenna had run and coached around the world in over 150 events long distance events from 5k to Ultra Obstacle courses.

Jenna’s excited to participate in her 14th Ottawa Race Weekend event while
training for her third half-Ironman in June 2019! When she's not running her coaching business, Jenna spends much of her spare time with family, friends and her toddler son (and fellow avid runner), Leo.

Everic Lauzière | Marathon


Everic Lauzière

After successfully completing his first marathon barefoot during the 2018 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, this Montreal-based father of three returns with an equally ambitious goal for the 2019 marathon. He wants to set a new personal record and beat his previous time of 3:32 achieved at the Canadian Evening Marathon in Ottawa in 2013. As a run commuter, this minimalist gets most of his kilometres in during his daily travels between daycare, work and home. Racing is not so much about performing and competing; it’s mostly about having fun and recharging your batteries so that you can deal with the hectic pace of everyday life. You can follow Everic and his adventures with his children on various social networks.

John McCauley | 5K


John McCauley

A lifelong runner, John ran cross-country in public school, orienteered in high school and ran to cure his hangovers in university. While running was an occasional activity following marriage and kids, he always knew he would return to regular running once his kids grew up. In 2007 he joined a Learn to Run Clinic at his local Running Room and re-created his running habit.

He regularly runs over 2000 kms a year and enjoys both the stress relief that running brings and the excuse it offers to be able to enjoy a fine craft beer. 2019 will be the 5th straight year that John toes the line for the Ottawa 5K at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.  He loves the atmosphere and energy that TORW brings, especially so during the 5K.  5Ks are his race of choice, he loves the challenge of being on the razor’s edge and that it’s over quick.

John’s excited to be a member of #TeamAwesome and to be able to share his passion for running with others.

Maxime Mc Gee | Voyageur Challenge

Québec City

Maxime Mc Gee

This is Maxime McGee’s second year on Team Awesome. He had such a great experience in 2018 that he immediately re-applied for the 2019 team!

In the past few years, physical activity has taken up more and more room in Maxime’s day-to-day life. First, he discovered running. Then came swimming and cycling, after he found out about triathlons. Then, a job change in the past year has meant that he now regularly commutes to work on his bike.

Maxime hopes to use this opportunity once again to share his love of running with participants of the weekend’s various races.

Fleur Merlingeas | Marathon


Fleur Merlingeas

I’ve practised a lot of sports—judo, boxing, horseback riding, rugby, and soccer—but cycling and running are different. At 13, I would go out running on my own every Sunday. Running is a habit, a form of therapy, and a way for me to recharge my batteries. It keeps me balanced.

I started running to escape life, but life has certainly caught up with me!

I’ve always run wherever I’ve lived: Ireland, Morocco, Malaysia…. And then in Taiwan, 10 years ago, I ran my first half marathon and started cycling seriously: three Tour de Taiwan and one giant circuit that took me from Taiwan, to Pekin, to Rome. (And on my days off, I ran in the streets of Pekin, on the Vatican grounds, and from Kazan to Vilnius, by way of Paris.)

I’ve been living in Montreal for the past two years and love exploring its murals and climbing the paths on Mount Royal. I run outdoors regardless of the season.

Why Ottawa for my first marathon? It’s a city I’ve yet to visit, and the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is supposed to be the most beautiful race in Canada. The Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon is particularly appealing to me because the marathon in my husband’s home region of Taiwan (Alishan) has just been named a sister marathon to the Ottawa race.

I use social media to share my day-to-day life with my family and talk about my experiences, with simplicity, sincerity and authenticity.

André Molléma | Half-Marathon


André Molléma

André is back again this year promoting the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend with his usual drive and enthusiasm, and his dedication to making this international event shine.

A passionate runner, a supporter of active living, and an avid social media user, André has been making this weekend a family tradition for many years, with the entire family participating in different races.

Looking for useful and relevant advice and tips, not just on running but also on muscle and bone issues or other first-aid needs? André is happy to share his expertise as a paramedic, including best practices and tips on preventing and managing injuries and other ailments.

See you at the race!

Jill Murray | Half-Marathon


Jill Murray

When Jill began running casually during her first year at university, she had no idea that it would one day become her life. After running her first 5km fun race, she wondered what else she could accomplish on a race course, and soon began increasing her daily runs to 10km. Many years, many races, a husband and three children later, Jill is still running and loving life as a “Mother Runner” in Ottawa.

Jill has now completed 2 marathons, 10 half marathons and countless 5 and 10km races. She feels extremely fortunate to have Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend “right in her backyard” each and every Spring, and likens the event to “Christmas for Runners”.

As a Nutrition and Kinesiology graduate, Jill is passionate about healthy living and has become especially invested in inspiring other mothers to find time in their busy lives for the joy that running can bring. Jill’s running rambles can be found in her daily posts on Instagram (@Jillamama) where she wonders out loud about everything from compression socks to world records.

Hufsa Mushtaq | 5K


Hufsa Mushtaq

Hufsa is an avid athlete who started her journey as a runner in October 2013 by completing her first 5k at the Scotiabank Toronto Marathon. Since then, she has completed 66 races ranging from 5-15K in multiple cities across Canada and the US, including four half marathons and a triathlon in 2016.

In 2015, she decided to take her interest to the next level and became a coach at Running Room. She has since mentored multiple groups of students across a broad range of ages and athletic abilities. She also leads an ever-growing social user group called “The Clinic Crew” for aspiring runners, where she provides guidance and tips to first time runners and organizes informal running events. The most recent run series she has created is in honour of her mom called ‘Run for Ghazala’, which is held bi-monthly, tackling 5-18k while exploring different areas around the GTA.

Hufsa is proud to be a member of #TeamAwesome, this will be her third time running at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Grace Myles | Marathon


Grace Myles

Grace grew up as a competitive dancer and was never a runner. As a child/teenager, running was embarrassing, discouraging and a means of punishment – especially in gym class! In first year of university, after gaining the Freshman Fifteen, she turned to 30 minutes of running on the treadmill every other day to lose the excess weight. 30 minutes slowly turned into 5km, which turned into 10km, which led her to sign up and train for her first half marathon in 2014. The love continued to grow from there!

Today, Grace has run 6 half marathons and 3 marathons. Her greatest love is for the 42.2km distance and all the discipline and heart that goes into training and running a marathon. This will be her third Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and she hopes to break 4 hours. Grace is thrilled to be part of Team Awesome this year and hopes to use this opportunity to inspire others to run and meet other runners in the Ottawa community!

Dan Pak | 10K


Dan Pak

Dan is originally from Thunder Bay, ON but his roots are now embedded in Stittsville, a suburb just West of Ottawa. Dan has been there since 2000 with his wife and two teenage daughters. Running has been a huge part of his life for the past few years and his passion keeps pushing him to challenge himself. His favourite motto is “Why do I do this, because I can!”

You can see Dan around in one form or either running, cross training or even volunteering at events. This is his 2nd year as a member of Team Awesome and his goals are to inspire others to obtain their goals for #RunOttawa2019 even if it means walking to the finish line upright and smiling.

Hélène Paradis | Lumberjack Challenge

Quebec City

Hélène Paradis

Hélène started running in 2011 as it was a sport that she could practise while working full‑time and raising three daughters.

It was her spouse who convinced her to give running a try and sign up for her first 5K race. This was followed by other races, and eventually the half marathon. To celebrate her 42nd birthday, she ran her first 42K race! Ottawa will be her eighth marathon and why not the Lumberjack Challenge? Four races totalling 59.2 km. The format of the Challenge will allow her to run with family and friends who’ll be doing the 2K, 5K, 10K, and maybe even the 42K runs.

Running invigorates her, keeps her healthy, and gives her some “me” time.

Hélène loves sharing her passion with family and friends. She never misses an opportunity to invite others to run or to register for a race. We all have potential, and the important thing is to just go for it. There is such a great sense of accomplishment and pride—not to mention a medal—that comes with crossing the finish line!

She is looking forward to running in the beautiful city of Ottawa.

Francis Parent Valiquette | Half-marathon


Francis Parent Valiquette

Back in November 2013, Francis was overweight and sedentary. One of his friends asked him to pursue the half-marathon journey with her in Ottawa next spring. Without knowing much about it, Francis accepted the challenge without any hesitation, thinking it would keep him motivated to train during winter months.

Six months of training later, Francis completed his first half-marathon in a bit more than 3 hours. Physically ruined, he came out totally transformed by this adventure, his head filled with pictures of an awesome race route, and countless runners and spectators encouraging him to complete his first race. He simply Got Hooked!

Since this day, Francis never stopped running and improving his time every year. He lost over 60 pounds in the process and promotes the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend to anyone who will listen to him!

He’s now proud to be part of Team Awesome for the 2019 race!

Chantal Provost | Half-Marathon


Chantal Provost

After struggling with obesity and leading a sedentary lifestyle, Chantal now sees each day as a new opportunity. She began running in 2015, falling in love with the sport after completing her first official 5K race. She hasn’t looked back since, with more than a dozen official races under her belt. Running is a source of indescribable joy for Chantal, and she’s come a long way in a short amount of time. On September 23, 2018, she proudly ran her fourth half marathon! After losing over 100 lbs, Chantal underwent major surgery on October 1. She’s now well on the road to recovery, from walking just 100 meters five days after her operation to running her fifth half marathon in Ottawa! As an ambassador for the second year in a row, she hopes her story will inspire you and help you with your own journey. Great things can be accomplished by taking small steps!

“Start low, go slow, but go!”

Leanne Richardson | Lumberjack Challenge


Leanne Richardson

Leanne started running later in life and completed her first marathon in 2013. She enjoys the mental and emotional benefits that running offers her. She appreciates the challenge of long distance running and has completed several marathons, ultra races and multi-day stage races.
The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend allows you to take in all the beautiful parts of our great city”, says Leanne. “There is an energy that cannot be explained, but instead needs to be experienced”.
She believes if you set a goal, make a plan and work hard anything is possible! Leanne loves everything that Team Awesome represents, it’s about sharing our running experiences as we train for race weekend! We want to encourage, support, and cheer one another on so we can all get to the finish line!
Mairead Rogers | Half-Marathon

Dublin ON

Mairead Rogers

Mairead is a Registered Dietitian in Huron County. She and her fiancé live with their Brittany spaniel, Copper, who is the best running buddy when he doesn’t want to chase the trucks or cows.

Mairead started running during high school track, and despite being easily the slowest runner on the team, she’s kept it up ever since. After completing her first triathlon following her first year of university, she knew she could take on a half marathon, and completed her first in the fall of 2012. Since then, she’s raced four more half marathons, three Around the Bay 30km runs, a handful of 5, 10 and 15k races, and ran her first marathon in November 2018.

Mairead will be running her sixth or seventh half marathon at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend and is so excited to finally take part in a race that’s been on her bucket list for years. She’s so proud to be a member of #TeamAwesome and to show her love of running and pushing herself (and food) as she trains!

Natalie Rousseau | 10K


Natalie Rousseau

From childhood races to 5K runs in high school, Natalie has always enjoyed running. It wasn’t until she attended the Université de Sherbrooke, however, that she started running more seriously as part of the university’s cross-country and track-and-field teams, in addition to taking part in a few triathlons. Thirty years later, she now runs in Gatineau Park to recharge her batteries. Through her intro‑to-running courses and her trail-running group, she likes getting people interested in running and other sports. Each year, she takes part in road, obstacle and trail events to test her limits. In 2018, she overcame her fear of crowds by participating in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend for the first time. Impressed by the organization, she’ll be returning in 2019 with a group of clients. Her motivation: to show them that running is within everyone’s reach. “It’s an honour to be a Team Awesome ambassador! I look forward to sharing nutrition and training tips with you to help you meet the 10K challenge while having fun!”

Nathalie Roy | Marathon


Nathalie Roy

Never in her wildest dreams did Nathalie think she could ever be a runner!  She’s always thought runners were a bit weird, especially in -30 degree Celcius weather! She never understood why people would put themselves through that! After many discussions with colleagues and friends, and losing 50lbs, she decided to give it a try.

She downloaded an app called Zombies Run! And step-by-step, slowly but surely, Nathalie became a runner.  She started running 5 years ago at 41 years of age and has never looked back. She’s run many races including various distances, her longest being a 25km night trail race.  She is looking forward to completing her first marathon this spring, at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Nathalie finds that running helps to reduce stress and rejuvenates her, especially when running the trails. She’s proof that anyone can run and that it’s never too late to start running! She’s excited to be part of this amazing team and looks forward to encouraging others to join her in running adventures.

Sonia Ruivo | 10K


Sonia Ruivo

Fitness found Sonia 10 years ago. An embarrassing fall from her bike, during an easy ride, made her realize that she needed to get in shape. Sonia joined a gym, got a trainer and started her fitness journey. Since then, fitness has become an integral and non-negotiable part of her life. Sonia started running about 5 years ago when she decided to run in an obstacle race organized by her gym.

In 2016, her trainer suggested that she run the Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon as a personal challenge. Not seeing herself as a runner, she wondered if she could actually run 21.2K. She did and succeeded. She ran a second half marathon to prove to herself that the first one wasn’t a fluke and that she was actually a runner. In spite of injuries, she managed to get a PB. In 2017, she ran 6.4 km in “La Canadienne” race, held in Normandy. This annual race honours Canadian soldiers who liberated France in WWII. This year, she ran the Army Run 5K and loved the experience.

Sonia loves to encourage other fitness late bloomers. Last year, she put together a team to race in RX1 Nation races. Most of her team members had never participated in a race. Her favourite part of the races was encouraging her teammates as they ran.

A former resident of Ottawa, Sonia loves the atmosphere of the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, from the crowds, volunteers and the course. She is honoured to have been selected as a member of Team Awesome and is excited to share her journey with you!

John Sadler | Marathon


John Sadler

John started running in January of 2017 at the age of 43 after 10+ years of recreational cycling.

Initially John had planned to race the occasional duathlon event for fun, so he signed up for the 10k clinic at his local Running Room. He was surprised at how much he was enjoying running though so continued on to complete his first half and full marathon that year.

During his training, he did participate in one duathlon and loved it, but he was now hooked on running and thoughts of Boston started circling around in his head.

For 2018, he decided to take a shot at that Boston qualifying time and joined a local running club. Over the season he participated in many races of various distances and on October 21st he successfully completed his 2nd marathon. It was a 13+ minute personal record but unfortunately a cramped quad with 6k to go forced him to come up short of his BQ time by 5 minutes.

Being very goal driven John is determined to train even harder and plans to take another shot at a Boston qualifying time during the 2019 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend. He is very excited to be a member of Team Awesome and hopes to inspire others to join him at working towards achieving their own goals too.

Tracy Shouldice | Half-Marathon


Tracy Shouldice

Tracy is an active participant in Ottawa’s running community, and has participated in every Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend (TORW) since he started running in 2010. TORW is the highlight of his year.

Tracy’s particular passion is running for those who can’t. He has participated in both individual and team-based fundraising for Team in Training, CHEO (Sears Run), Imerman Angels, and most recently, the Royal Ottawa Foundation for Mental Health. Tracy estimates that he and his fundraising running teams have collectively raised over $125,000 for those who could use a little help. And he’s far from finished: in 2019, he will run the Scotiabank Ottawa half marathon to again raise awareness and funding for the Royal.

Tracy loves engaging other runners, to share tips and stories … and maybe the odd beer. He encourages anyone who wishes to connect with him to reach out!

Nicole Sterling | Half-Marathon


Nicole Sterling

Originally born and raised in New York, Nicole moved to Montreal almost 17 years ago. Her story started September 2006, during the birth of her daughter, when she went into cardiac arrest at 31. The doctors were able to get her heart started again, but she suffered a heart attack about 20 minutes later. She woke up from a coma about 6 hours later not knowing what exactly happened. The aftermath of all of this left Nicole absolutely petrified to do anything physically demanding for years fearing she would have another heart attack.

Nicole finally got full clearance from her cardiologist in late September 2013 and she started running.  Fast forward to today….she now runs 4-5 times a week, eats right and has lost 125 lbs and kept it off for 4 years.

In 2016 she ran her first ½ marathon to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of her heart attack and cardiac arrest. To date she has run about 25 different races including 8 half marathons and 3 Ragnars.

Nicole is very excited for this opportunity and spreading her love for the sport of running to the running community. Her goal is to run a race in every Canadian province.

Ethan Tang | Marathon


Ethan Tang

Once upon a time there was a former Mission Impossible agent named Ethan who lived in Montreal. Ethan began running in July 2016 and has participated in four marathons so far: Paris (2017), Ottawa (2018), Chicago (2018), and New York (2018).

His primary mission—should he accept it—is to motivate and assist as many people as possible to engage in regular physical activity.

Ethan firmly believes that running is one of the most accessible sports in the world. Whether it’s a 5K or 10K race, a half or even full marathon, everyone is capable of crossing the finish line.

Being part of Team Awesome is an honour and, more importantly, a chance to use his recently acquired experience to help those who want to test their limits during the 2019 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

Sign up soon! You won’t regret it! J

And be careful: this message will self-destruct in five seconds!

Jean-François Thibault | Half-Marathon


Jean-François Thibault

Jean-François, a 48-year-old communications advisor, has been running regularly for almost 10 years. Before that, he mostly did hiking and cross-country skiing. In fact, he wasn’t really drawn to running because of the endurance and solitude he though it required. But when Jean‑François sort of accidentally joined a running group with a trainer and a program, that all changed. He discovered the enjoyment of running with dynamic people and was introduced to the famous concept of pace. He became the group’s time keeper, managing his teammates’ pace during intervals.

Over the past 10 years, Jean-François has run 15 half marathons, two 30K races, and four marathons, and even a short 5K race. Not a week goes by now without him going for a run, either alone or with a group.

Last year he beat three personal records (half marathon, 30K, and marathon), making 2018 one of his best running seasons ever.

Jean-François is honoured to be part of Team Awesome and share various aspects of his passion for running, including physical preparation, nutrition, dealing with injuries, running in different types of weather, and race management).

Karolina Tomaszewska | Half-Marathon


Karolina Tomaszewska

Karolina is an adventure enthusiast living in downtown Toronto. She has many leisurely pursuits and collects hobbies and shoes without much discrimination. Fueled by a sense of curiosity, she seeks out and takes on a variety of challenges whenever possible. She started running in 2016 when a friend asked her to be on a team of women that would run the Bruce Trail as an end-to-end relay. She continued running and completed her first half-marathon in the fall of 2017 through rain and hail in the streets of Copenhagen.

She continues to run through all seasons and uses running to explore the various corners of the city; hustles though graffiti-covered alleys one day, urban trails and forests the next day. Karolina is excited that her first half-marathon on Canadian soil will be in the nation’s capital. When not undertaking adventurous pursuits, Karolina works in interactive digital media and struts about town with Buckminster, her Italian Greyhound.

Laarny Torre | Half-Marathon


Laarny Torre

Laarny Torre is a working mom of 3 little boys, an at-home fitness enthusiast and a newbie runner.

Running a marathon has always been in her bucket list so when a charity lottery spot opened at work, she nonchalantly put her name in. How hard would it be to run a marathon, right?

As fate has it, she got picked and off to Boston Marathon 2018 she went. Not running at all at that time, training was hard! Eventually, Laarny’s body learned and the long runs that were so new to her became her weekly stress reliever. Running became her time to refocus from her busy life and come back a better person.

Running made Laarny believe in herself more knowing she could do hard things when she put in the work. It built character and confidence, something that weakened when she became a mom and learned to second guess myself thinking she was not doing well enough every day.

This newbie runner conquered the torrential Boston Marathon 2018 plus 3 half marathons and 30K race this year. A few are already planned for 2019 including running the Scotiabank Ottawa Half Marathon as part of #TeamAwesome2019.

Laarny wants to inspire other moms to take time for themselves, to chase their personal dreams! “We are not just moms…we are made for more!”

Cliff Trafford | Marathon


Cliff Trafford

A smoker of 20 years, Cliff Trafford never imagined that one day he would be running ultra-distances in his 40’s.

In the summer of 2013 he quit the pack for good and completed his first obstacle course race (OCR) where he discovered a passion for running. Over the next 5 years he participated in more than 125 various types of races including the obstacle course racing world championships, a dozen half-marathons, and 6 marathons.

Fast forward to 2018, Cliff remains smoke-free and has ventured into the life of running ultra-race distances. He has completed a Spartan Ultra, three 50-kilometer trail races, two 50-mile races and his biggest and most challenging distance being a 100-mile trail race.

He is an active member in various running groups in both the Toronto and Ottawa area where he supports and enjoys helping other athletes reach their goals.

As a new resident to Ottawa he is very excited to once again participate in the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend but as a member of Team Awesome.  You can follow his running adventures on Instagram (UltraCliff).

Jenn Tuthill | 10K


Jenn Tuthill

Jenn was born and raised in Ottawa. She is a mother of two and enjoys the 3 C’s craft beer, coffee and carbs.

Jenn started running in 2010 and never one to back away from a challenge, ran her first marathon in 2012 a week before her wedding using her training runs to de-stress from wedding planning.

In 2013, Jenn took a break from running to undergo fertility treatments, she found it was tough to have to take a break from running but knew it would be worth it. After a five-year break, she started running again this summer. Jenn is elated to be part of #TeamAwesome2019 and is looking forward to sharing training for and running the 10k at Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend.

She is hoping that others can find inspiration and motivation through her story and learn what a great running community there is in the nation’s capital.