By The Way – Colonel By

Ottawa is Canada’s capital city and hosts what is probably the country’s top race weekend of the year in late May. I have managed to run in the 5km, 10km, and half-marathon over the years but haven’t made it there in more recent times. The race weekend has gotten so big (nearly 48,000 runners) that it has become near impossible to get a hotel room for the weekend.

Back in 2005 my parents Edwina and Bob made the National Capital Marathon their last run at the full marathon distance, although they actually walked it. My Mom finished in 6h06, and my Dad in 6h21. Wow! My Dad was 73 years old, and my Mom was a couple of months shy of her 72nd birthday. They completed the marathon distance at that age! That’s them behind the shades in the photo, shortly after the race finished. They were the inspiration to all of us young runners back in the day. I retired from doing full marathons when I was 29 but you never know, maybe I will get inspired to run another one, one of these days?


Photo: Gary Rush,
Graphics by Chris Stewart

2015, 10 years later from their marathon and we now have a family member in Ottawa, but we missed out on entering the Saturday night 10km as it sold out several months before race day. But, the Somersault gang also organizes a very good race series in and around the region, so this year I made it to the Colonel By Classic, an 8km run along the Rideau canal. Anyone who has ever been to Ottawa knows this is the best spot for a run.

By the way, Colonel John By was a British military engineer who was sent to Ottawa in 1826 to build the Rideau Canal. This was not long after the War of 1812 when the entire region was fortified in anticipation of another possible “invasion” from the United States. 200 year old political stories can still cause laughs in our Iroquois–American–Canadian family. Ottawa was first called “Bytown” and still has the Byward market area which is popular with tourists.
Photo by Teo

So, I got to enjoy the race with two of my nephews (Wade and Adam) pictured above there with yours truly. Both of them are good athletes and pretty good runners too, and with an out and back course run entirely along the canal we got to cheer each other on near the half way point. It was humid out there so our times were a bit slow, heavy glow! Afterwards we got to eat and enjoy a pint down at the public market. By the way, it was Adam and Wade who turned us all on the Red Hot Chili Peppers many years ago, thanks! And, next year we are entering the big race weekend Saturday night 10km, so we can enjoy running with a world class field and the many thousands.

View event:

View event:


Forever a runner, above at the finish, with a humid heavy glow.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *