Virtual Race: Run for the Refuge!

Fri July 15 - Fri September 30, 2022
Supporting wildlife and habitat conservation at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge

Virtual Race: 1 Mile Run for the Refuge (Run or Walk!)

$15 Registration ends September 30, 2022 at 12:00pm EDT

Virtual Race: 5K Run for the Refuge (Run or Walk!)

$15 Registration ends September 30, 2022 at 12:00pm EDT

Virtual Race: 10K Run for the Refuge (Run or Walk!)

$15 Registration ends September 30, 2022 at 12:00pm EDT
Race Website

Additional race information can be found at

Anywhere you'd like! You can complete your race on your own at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, in your community, or even on a treadmill.

Run for the Refuge!  
Lace up your running shoes and help to protect critical wetland habitats at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Our logo this year features a fox in honor of the opening of the Fox Nature Preserve

We exist because...
Fresh water is a finite resource. We are working to protect it. The Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Complex is located along the southern shore of Lake Erie, the 11th largest lake in the world. The Great Lakes contain about 20% of the world's fresh water but they are in jeopardy. The wetlands at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge play a critical role in the Lake Erie ecosystem, acting as the kidneys of the landscape; working to protect NW Ohio's drinking water, work, and leisure. They also provide important nesting and stopover habitat for birds, fish, and wildlife. Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge works to support Ohio's only national wildlife refuge complex through fundraising and volunteerism so that we can be the change that our wildlife and community deserve.

Because this is now a virtual event, 100% of your registration fee will support Friends of Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and our mission. 

What exactly do we do? Some of our recent accomplishments include:

  • Won a Public Lands Alliance Partner Award and Innovation Award in 2021!
  • Protected 69 acres of land through our Land Acquisition and Restoration Fund.
  • Installed an ADA compliant kayak launch at the Nehls Memorial Nature Preserve.
  • Received Ohio EPA grant to plant trees, native grasses, and flowering plants on the 40 acre Fox Nature Preserve.
  • Completed Wildlife Drive improvements including 9 pull-offs and a restroom mid-way through the route.
  • Partnered with 10 organizations to build the Visitor Center Fishing Access with an ADA-accessible fishing platform.
  • Constructed West Harbor Landing observation deck, parking area, kayak launch, kiosk, and pollinator habitat.
  • Built Turtle Creek Island Unit and Middle Toussaint Unit parking areas and kayak launches to promote fishing and paddling.
  • Constructed Boss Unit Shorebird Deck for birders and photographers.
  • Provided stipends for 27 13-week internships in the last 5 years.
  • Purchased tour bus to provide free and accessible public access at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.
  • Created an Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge license plate available at Ohio BMV's.
  • Received Ohio Environmental Education Foundation grant to equip the Refuge Ranger Station with educational materials and fund a Visitor Services staff position.
  • Sponsored public events focused on fishing, hunting, environmental education, photography, and youth camps.

Race Information
Consider completing our 1M, 5K, or 10K event to help us continue raising funds for wildlife and habitat preservation. If you've never done a virtual race before, you just register online as usual, select swag options (apparel, water bottle, race medal), and then do the race on your own. With virtual races, you can complete the distance on your treadmill at home, on Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge's trails, or even around your neighborhood. Then just log your time between September 1 - September 30, 2022 and share your photos online using #ottawanwr or join the Friends of Ottawa NWR Photo Club and post there!  Plan to hike instead of race? Download our Scavenger Hunt and see if you can check everything off of the list! Swag purchases are pre-order and available through August 28.  Any swag options that you purchase will be mailed to you after the race by September 30, 2022.  If you are local, orders may also be picked up at the Visitor Center after that date.  These orders will receive a $10 Rookery Nature Store Gift Card.  Contact Julia at 419-960-5222 for more information.

Age Classes:

  • 9 years and under
  • 10-14 years
  • 15-19 years
  • 20-29 years
  • 30-39 years
  • 40-49 years
  • 50-59 years
  • 60-69 years
  • 70+ years

If you choose to race at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, we have a recommended route for the 1M and 5K options. These courses are on gravel hiking trails and provide you an opportunity to see a variety of habitats and wildlife - including Bald Eagles! Since the courses are on our hiking trails, you can come back and exercise at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge whenever the mood strikes you. Trails are open from sunrise to sunset with some seasonal closures for maintenance and Bald Eagle nest protection. For the interactive trail map, visit

Race Contact Info

If you have any questions about this race, click the button below.


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