OUTRace History from 1989 – 2023

In 1989 the Ontario Ultra Series, then known as OUSer, was founded by Edwin Alexander, Doug Barber, Norm Patenaude, Rolly Portelance and Tom Jewiss. Back in those days, the focus was on hosting a race that only had the Ultra distance of 50 km or greater and timing was done manually.

Edwin served as the Series Coordinator from 1989 – 2000 and truly set the framework for many good years to follow. Edwin was very kind to provide a race report of the Golden Horseshoe Fifty Miler held on Sunday, September 30, 1990. This was the greatest International and National event in the history of the sport in Canada and started out in this series.

As the series went into the early 90s, a unified race form was developed that outlined all races being offered in that calendar year, where runners had to photocopy the waiver, cut out the detailed race application you wanted and mail it to each individual race with a check. When it got cashed you knew then, you were guaranteed a spot in that race. Wow! We have come a long way since then!

In the early days, we always joked about the series being run on a shoelace with respect to smaller numbers of participants at each race and a very small budget that allowed for a low cost banquet at the completion of the last race in the series.

In 2003 Tony Martin started the Spring Warm-Up as a fundraiser for the Ultra Series at the Waterloo Rec Complex and attracted 55 runners. It offered a 22 km & 44 km run on a 4 km loop on asphalt sidewalks around Waterloo Park. Most of the people who ran the 44 km completed 50 km or greater in the series that year.

The additional funds raised in the Spring Warm Up has always helped to lessen the fees for Race Directors by making the series affordable for all existing races in the series and those races entering for the first time. The series has always been fair to all races over the years. Races that have elected to leave the series, have done so for their own personal reasons and their decisions have always been respected by the OUTRace Coordinator.

From 2000 - 2006 Gord England accepted the position of Series Coordination and helped to develop the now Trail Series (25 km - 32 km), which was a great addition to the series and has been a saviour over the last two decades. When this occurred, the series was then renamed Ontario Ultra and Trail Series, now known as OUTRace. Gord also organized the Spring Warm-Up fundraiser for the series while on the board.

In 2007 Scott Myers accepted the position of Series Coordinator and was very instrumental in helping to promote the Series to a new level and facilitated many good ideas that came from the board level.

From 2008 - 2017 Sharon Zelinski accepted the position as Series Coordinator and did an amazing job securing sponsors, keeping the dialog open for all RDs in the series. Sharon would also be seen at many races hanging the series banner and promoting the series by providing card stock on upcoming races in the series. Sharon also organized the Spring Warm Up fundraiser for the series while on the board.

From 2018 – 2022 Pierre Marcoux accepted the position of OUTRace Coordinator and did a great job in keeping communication open as well as hosting the Spring Warm Up fundraiser for the series. Times were difficult through the pandemic, but Pierre got us through it. Many thanks to Pierre for continuing to host the OUTRace spring warm up again in 2023.

Honourable mention to those individuals who have helped make the series a success from 1989 – 2022 are:

  • Jim Orr - Statistician
  • Giles Malet - Webmaster
  • Esmond Mah - Webmaster
  • Stephan Miklos - Webmaster
  • Katharine Christopoulos - Treasurer 
  • Dave Varty - OUTRace Social Media Moderator
  • Heather Borsellino - OUTRace Social Media Moderator
  • David Blaikie - Record keeper

The Ultra series has always focused on points achieved in distance (1 point for each km) and points based on position placing, while the Trail Series focused on one's finishing position for category awards.

The above OUTRace history was prepared by Tony Martin, 2023 Interim Coordinator for the Ontario Ultra and Trail Series. For any errors, corrections, or additions, please contact Tony directly at coordinator@outrace.ca.