Next Sunday on July 24th I will be running in my fifth Tely 10 in St. John's Newfoundland, a ten mile point-to-point race sponsored by the local Telegram newspaper (hence the name). It runs like a miniture Boston Marathon in that it's mostly downhill and there's fleet of school buses that ferry you from downtown to the start line. It starts in the town Paradise, just outside of St John's. They've always started from the same place so now there's a permanent start line and mile markers. It has been around since 1922, which makes it one of the oldest races in Canada. In fact Newfoundland was not part of Canada in the 1920s (one of those easy-to-forget factoids). I recently read a book on history of the Tely 10, which recounts stories from every year of the race from 1922 to 2000. Early on they used to not close the roads to traffic, so one year a lead runner got hit by a car. The things we take for granted nowadays...
The first year I ran Tely was 2007 and I had never been to St John's before. It was a fluke that I booked my vacation when it was being held. My girlfriend (now fiancee) lived there along with much of her extended family. I already had my ticket booked when she told me this popular race was happening on my last day of visit. By then I had done two marathons, including Boston, so I figured it shouldn't be too grueling. I'd give it the old college try.
Back in those days there was no online registration (possibly because 99% of the runners are from the island). I mailed my entry old school. And the race itself did not go badly; despite a last-minute panic about getting to the start on time I came 9th overall in 56:06, or 5:37/mile. There were 2000 runners that year (consider that Newfoundland has only 550,000 residents!); it was a good result considering I had not really trained. The week before I hiked famous Gros Mourne 10-mile trail and maybe that helped. I knew nothing of the history of the race, but it was fun, scenic, crowds lined the course cheering you and the weather was really good for running (cool and overcast). Also I wanted to do better. Later that night before leaving I became an official Newfoundlander by kissing a frozen cod. Until next year Newfoundland.
I have run the Tely 10 every year now since 2007. My 2008-10 times are 53:36 (3rd), 52:46 (2nd) and 52:35 (4th, but with a fractured foot bone). This year I hope to improve again and without any broken bones. Every year since 2005 Colin Fewer has been crowned the victor. He'd be a hard one to beat with his 5:00/mile pace, but running in sight of him at the end would be swell. We will see what happens. Despite a pulled achilles back in April, I have been running more consistently this summer, doing just enough core to keep things interesting but focusing on mileage, interesting workouts, and some double days. (Today, though not exactly typical, was 70 minutes in morning and another 70 in evening). I am aiming to 'peak' in October for the Toronto Waterfront marathon, so this is technically not the end goal. For right now it lies squarely in my sights. And only 11 days away. Time to get some much needed rest.