Moh Ahmed, Cam Levins to face off at Ottawa 10K

Moh Ahmed, Cam Levins to face off at Ottawa 10K
Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend will once again host the Canadian 10K Championships in 2023, and as always, this is an event that no runner or fan will want to miss. Two of the best distance runners in Canadian history, Cam Levins and Moh Ahmed, will headline the men’s race alongside former national champions. And four of the top five women from last year’s championships are returning, making the Ottawa 10K one of the most anticipated races on the 2023 event calendar.

It’s an equally fun and exciting race for non-elites, as the 10K follows a beautiful course through Ottawa, one of Canada’s most beautiful cities. The 2023 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is set for May 27 and 28.

Much of the Ottawa 10K course follows the Rideau Canal. Photo: Rémi Theriault

The elite fields

canadian olympic marathoner Dylan Wykes has been the elite athlete co-ordinator at Run Ottawa for four years, but due to the pandemic, the 2023 race weekend will mark only the second in-person edition of the event he has worked on since taking over the role in early 2020. Wykes says this year’s race will be a special one, as “the best 10K runners in the country will be hitting the streets of Ottawa.”

Headlining the event are Levins and Ahmed, neither of whom have ever competed at Ottawa Race Weekend. Ahmed, a 2020 Olympic medallist in the 5,000m, holds the Canadian record for 10,000m (26:34.14 on the track), but has not yet raced on the roads in his professional career. Ahmed is amped about the opportunity to kick off his 2023 season at the Ottawa 10K and make his road-racing debut.

Levins told race organizers he’s eager to check the Ottawa 10K off his bucket list. “The opportunity to run in such a competitive field in Canada is really great,” Levins said. “Ottawa has always been an event at which I’ve wanted to race.” Joining Ahmed and Levins in the men’s field are 2:10 marathoner Tristan WoodfineU Sports cross-country champion Max TurekCanadian cross-country champion connor black and others.

Canadian 10K Championships
Leslie Sexton of Vancouver, BC chases down Natasha Wodak at the 2022 Ottawa 10K. Photo: Richard A. Whittaker

The women’s field is equally stacked, with four of the top five women from the 2022 Ottawa 10K returning to this year’s championship race. Natasha Wodakwho won last year’s race, will not be back to defend her title, but second-place Leslie Sextonthird place Sasha Gollishfourth place Emily Setlack and fifth place Cleo Boyd are all in the lineup and ready to fight for the win. “It’s a really great group of women,” Wykes says, pointing out that the field spans more than 15 years in age. “All these women have great stories and are an inspiration.

“This is a great opportunity for fans of the sport to see [these athletes] in action,” Wykes continues, pointing to Ahmed and Levins, who headline the men’s 10K field. “Levins is performing incredibly well right now, as well as any Canadian ever has on the roads at the world level, so it’s an exciting opportunity for fans of the sport to get to see him compete on home soil.”

Cam Levins Asics
Canadian marathon record holder Cam Levins will be racing the Ottawa 10K for the first time. Photo: RUNVAN®

Wykes adds that the 10K isn’t the only spectacle for fans who will be in Ottawa on May 27 and 28. “The entire weekend is a great opportunity to see some of the world’s best runners,” he says. “Our marathon is a World Athletics Elite Label event and will have athletes from three of the best marathoning nations in the world: Ethiopia, Kenya and Japan.”

The race

For runners who aren’t looking to go sub-30 at the Ottawa 10K, this is still a great race. One detail Wykes points out that makes it unique is the race’s start time. “I think it is special because it is an evening race,” he says. “Most road races are held in the morning, so there is definitely a bit of a different feel to things when the race is in the evening.”

Wykes says fans are “a bit rowdier” than they might be at the crack of dawn, and he says there’s “a bit more of a party atmosphere.” This all adds up to a great night of adrenaline, fast racing and post-race fun.

Wykes wins the 2019 Ottawa 10K before eventually taking over the role of elite athlete co-ordinator. Photo: Victah Sailer@PhotoRun

The race starts on Elgin Street, not far from Parliament Hill, and takes runners down to the Rideau Canal. “Elgin Street is lined with patios and restaurants,” Wykes says, so there are plenty of people to cheer runners on as they kick off the race. Once at the Rideau Canal, runners follow the water all the way to Dows Lake, then cross a bridge and head to the finish on the other side.

“The final mile of the race is packed with fans along the Pretoria Bridge and Colonel By Drive,” Wykes says. “I’m getting excited now, just thinking about it.”

Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is only a month away, but there’s still time to register for any of its distances. To register or to learn more about the Ottawa 10K and the race weekend, click here.

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