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Five running events that showcase the best of spring racing in Canada

If you've been training all winter long, be sure to hop into a worthwhile race this spring.

Calgary Marathon
British Columbia marathons
Photo: Chris Morris.

With the long-awaited arrival of spring and the weather finally trending in the right direction, many runners are starting to focus on upcoming spring races. The spring season offers no shortage of great races from coast to coast, and here we have identified a select few that are particularly worthy of Canadian runners’ efforts.

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April 22nd: Banque Scotia 21K de Montreal

This is the only Quebec event in the exceptional Canada Running Series that now features races all weekend long. New for 2017, 10K and 5K races will be offered and take place on Saturday morning before the marquis half-marathon on Sunday. Beginning at the Parterre on Île Sainte-Hélène of Parc Jean-Drapeau, the half-marathon course completes a full loop of Sainte-Hélène before crossing onto Île Notre-Dame (Gilles-Villeneuve Circuit and Olympic Bassin) and runs another loop before returning for the finish at the Complexe Aquatique. The route is flat and fast and provides scenic views of downtown Montreal. Participants can expect excellent organization, pre- and post-race amenities as well as signature swag, medals and more.

May 7th: Demi-Marathon International Oasis de Lévis

This popular half-marathon is the first event in Courir a Quebec series which offers five exciting events in 2017. The races, including the signature half as well as a 10K and 5K, take place in Lévis on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. The half-marathon follows a fast point-to-point and net downhill course that begins at the Convention Centre and takes participants along the shores of the St. Lawrence affording spectacular and scenic views of the river and old Quebec City on the river’s north side. All events finish at Juvénat Notre-Dame de Saint-Romuald. Participants then enjoy the complimentary brunch and receive a signature finisher’s medal.

May 7th: BMO Vancouver Marathon

One of Canada’s premier running experiences that you won’t soon forget. Highly acclaimed for its stunning beauty and scenic route, the historic Vancouver Marathon–established in 1972–takes participants on a complete city tour through picturesque parks and cozy neighbourhoods and past cheering crowds and oceanfront boulevards. Participants are sure to enjoy the awesome ocean views alongside natural beaches with a backdrop of distant mountains. The point-to-point marathon course begins in Queen Elizabeth Park and takes participants through Pacific Spirit Park, past the sprawling campus of UBC and around the famed Seawall of Stanley Park to the downtown finish. A popular half and 8K are also offered and together the event attracts some 15,000 participants.

2012 Tamarack Homes Ottawa Race Weekend

May 27th: Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend


Canada’s largest running event is the historic Ottawa Race Weekend which continues to attract the largest number of participants–some 45,000 last year–in Canada, including elite, recreational and first time finishers. The signature marathon was awarded the prestigious IAAF gold label status and along with an immensely popular half-marathon features a mostly flat and scenic tour of the nation’s capital including many of its notable and historic attractions. The 10K event on Saturday is also an IAAF gold-standard race and host of the 10K Canadian Championships which attracts a very fast field. In addition to the races, the event offers an excellent race expo, top-notch amenities as well as entertainment, awards and much more, making Ottawa the complete racing experience and a must-do event for Canadian runners, especially in 2017 as Canada celebrates its 150th anniversary.

May 27th: Scotiabank Calgary Marathon

The Calgary Marathon is one of the oldest events of its kind in Canada having first run way back in 1964. In addition to the historic marathon, the event offers a half marathon which also hosts the Canadian Championships, 10K and 5K races and a 50K ultra. New to 2017 and one-time only, a 150K ultra and team relay will be offered in part to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial. The courses feature a scenic and mostly flat tour of the city, its downtown and often runs right alongside the mighty Bow River. The memorable finish is located at the Stampede Grounds where participants receive a signature medal or belt buckle and post-race breakfast.

For more spring race ideas, check out these 21 race-worthy halfs in the first half of 2017:

2017 Spring Races
This image originally appeared in the March & April 2017 issue of Canadian Running magazine

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