Carleton Cup contender goes for gold

By Daniel Smith

Centretown resident Scott McIntyre placed second in last year’s Carleton Cup, an annual charity ‘triathlon’ of skating, running and drinking. And despite fierce competition brought about by the event’s growing popularity, McIntyre says this time he’s going for gold.

This will be his fourth year participating in the event, which involves speed skating down the Rideau Canal, racing on foot to a bar in the Byward Market and downing a quart of beer, all to raise money for Cystic Fibrosis (CF) research. The race will be held this weekend.

The Cup, dubbed the “Ultimate Canadian Triathlon,” is in its seventeenth year. Participation is on the rise, and so are donations.

Much like other charity marathons and walks, participants collect pledges in the run up to the Cup and all proceeds go to the local CF chapter.

The event is growing quickly. Last year, it raised a record $9,000, up from $3,000 the year before. This year, organizers are hoping to raise $15,000.

Those donations will go a long way, says André Chartrand, head of the Ottawa chapter of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“When people donate to us, they get the most bang for their buck,” he says.

With no office and an all-volunteer staff, Chartrand says his chapter has minimal overhead so that all monies raised go directly to research.

André’s nephew Jason Chartrand, a recent graduate from the University of Ottawa, has Cystic Fibrosis.

He says that every penny donated to CF through events like these makes a difference.

“I am very fortunate for the monies that have been raised because I am benefiting now from that money,” he says.

“(Events like this) mean a lot to me because they show that people do care.”

Along with his goal of winning the cup this year, McIntyre also plans to raise $100 for the cause.

With his lengthy Cup history, he doesn’t think that it will take much work to raise funds.

“A hundred dollars isn’t hard to get when you’ve got five friends who can give you 20 bucks,” he says.

But winning the cup won’t be so easy, because it looks like McIntyre will have plenty of competition. Organizers are expecting to see over 300 racers at the event, up from 230 last year.

In fact, the event is growing so quickly that the ‘third leg’ of the race had to be moved to a bigger bar this year.

The wrap-up party will now be held at Surface Nightclub in the Byward Market, which is quite a different venue from the smaller Chateau Lafayette pub where the event was traditionally held.

Scott Rondeau, one of the event’s organizers, says the Carleton Cup has come a long way from its humble beginnings.

“Originally, it was just about friends getting together for fun, trying to get through the long Ottawa winters,” he says, “but like any cool story, it just kind of caught on. People just started doing it, more and more people wanted to be involved.”

The first Cup in 1990 involved just 11 people from the Ottawa area. Now hundreds of people attend — not just locals.

“People show up from all over Canada,” says Rondeau, “from as far away as the Yukon — we’ve had people traveling from everywhere.”

Bob Millar is one of those travelers. The former Ottawa resident makes the trip every year from his new home in Guelph. Millar, who describes himself as one of the “founding fathers” of the event, says he has been involved since day one and now brings his family, too.

“I have two young children,” he says, “and they are both becoming Carleton Cup alumni.”

No matter how many people show up for the race this year, McIntyre is pretty sure he still has the best shot at winning the Cup.

He is getting ready to run the Boston Marathon in April, so he figures his training should pay off on the ice.

“During the week, I’m training for the race,” he explains, “and then on the weekends, I’m training for the third leg.”