Ottawa Refuge annual benefit run now a virtual event

Jun 24, 2020 | Ottawa Outdoors | 0 comments

Lace up your running shoes and help to protect critical wetland habitats at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

The Discover Ottawa Run/Walk to benefit the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge on Saturday, July 11 will transition into a virtual event offering a lot of options, according to the sponsoring Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

Due to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions requiring safe distancing, race officials are converting to a new platform that has been rebranded as Run for the Refuge! The 5K and 10K runs offered will promote healthy lifestyles while supporting social distancing guidelines and raising funds for conservation at Ottawa Refuge.

“Most of the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge trails have been open throughout the COVID-19 crisis, providing a place of serenity during the chaos,” said Aimee Arent, Friends Executive Director. “Being outdoors in nature has a calming effect for a lot of people. Since we are uncertain of when we can safely host events, we decided that a virtual event was worth a try.”

So far, the redesign has been very well received, said Arent. In addition to their local supporters, the Friends of Ottawa Refuge even had Friends from Arizona, Oregon, Minnesota, Michigan, Virginia and West Virginia sign up to race for Ottawa.

“It really goes to show how many people love this gem,” said Arent.

Since it’s a virtual race, runners and walkers can compete in a 1 mile, 5k or 10k race on their own at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, in their neighborhood, or even on a treadmill.

Run for the Refuge! will be held on July 1 through July 20, with 100% of the $15 registration fee supporting conservation efforts at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Additionally, race t-shirts, medals, and water bottles are available for purchase through July 7. Those interested in participating or race gear may sign up at

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