The Tely 10 - A Brief History
By Joe Ryan
Updated June 2022
Newfoundland’s premier road race, the Tely 10, is believed to be the third oldest road race in Canada and one of the oldest in North America.
First run in 1922, The Telegram 10 Mile Road Race (the Tely 10) has become the province’s most popular road race, drawing close to 4200 participants in the 2018 race. This ten-mile run from the Octagon Pond the Town of Paradise on the outskirts of St. John’s to Bannerman Park in the heart of the city is a unique challenge for runners of all abilities. For competitive racers it is the one race they all want to win, thus adding their names to the long list of former champions. For the recreational jogger or walker, completing the course is in itself a victory.
This year, 2022, will mark the 94th running of the annual classic, and with the exception of the Second World War Years, 1940 - 45, and the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, this race has been run every year since its inauguration.
The long list of Tely champions started with Jack Bell in 1922. Even back then, the race was "the event worthwhile that our long distance runners are anxious to carry off." The great Ron O’Toole, one of Newfoundland’s finest distance runners, placed second that year, having been greatly annoyed by a horse and a wagon which got between him and Bell on the course.
For the next three years (1923-1925), O’Toole had no cause for annoyance as he finished first each time. The 1924 race was close, however, until the final stages when Billy Linegar, the second-place finisher, was forced to drop back, suffering from "galled feet, owing to poor footware".
In 1926, a new champion emerged as Cliff Stone gained the title and retained it for the next seven years. Stone’s best effort came in 1929 when he recorded a time of 52 minutes, 57:06 seconds, establishing a mark that would stand for 41 years. In that race, it is interesting to note that at no time was Stone called upon to exert himself.
Following Stone’s seven-year reign, another of Newfoundland’s greatest runners ever, the renowned Pat Kelly, took over in 1933 and for the remainder of that decade reigned supreme. Following the Second World War, Kelly returned for victories in 1946 and 1947, years which saw renewed interest in the race.
In 1948, with radio station VOCM broadcasting the race live for the first time, Bern Thistle added his name to the list of champions, followed by Johnny Lafferty of the U.S. Navy at Argentia in 1949. The 1948 contest it may be noted, had to be postponed for a day because of a heavy rain-storm with hurricane winds that swept the island, causing extensive damage in the city.
The 1950’s belonged to another great Newfoundland runner, George Hillier, who won the race seven times from 1950 - 1956. Hillier entered his first Telegram race in 1948, placing sixth. The following year he moved up to fourth, after becoming "the victim of the flying and flailing hooves of one of the horses of the Mounted Police" as he neared the finish line.
In 1950, the year of his first victory, Hillier had another interesting experience while running. Training on the course one night with an alarm clock in his hand to time himself, Hillier "aroused the suspicions of a constable and some questions resulted".
With Hillier absent from the 1957 race, Jim Jackson was crowned champion only to be defeated the following year by a previous winner, Johnny Lafferty. Lafferty was 40 years old at the time, probably the oldest winner of the Tely 10. In that race, onlookers noted that Lafferty ran down the center of the road, glanced frequently at his watch and cut the curves whenever possible. He had made a special trip to St. John’s from the United States to compete in the race.
Following Jackson’s second victory in 1959, veteran George Crane won in 1960. This was Crane’s 14th time running the race. He would go on to run it another four years. In the 1961 contest, Charlie Spurrell waited until the last few hundred yards to take the lead and claim victory.
From 1962 - 1967, Don Coaker was the undisputed winner of The Telegram classic. With few other competitors in his class, Coaker usually led from the start using a free and easy style of running. With Coaker’s retirement from the race in 1968, Ken Rice claimed victory, followed by Joe Ryan in 1969. It may be noted that both the 1968 and 1969 editions of the Tely 10 were held entirely on the newly installed King George V Track.
In 1970, Dan Clarke, a young marine from the Argentia Naval Base, shattered Stone’s 41 year-old record as he raced the course in 50:07. The race that year started at the King George V Track and went up Kenna’s Hill to a point five miles along Logy Bay Road before returning to the track. Clarke returned in 1971 for another impressive victory in 50:35.
Following these outstanding performances, renewed interest began to develop in the race as spectators once more lined the streets to cheer on the runners. Bren Kelly won in 1972 followed by Dave Thomas in 1973 and Mike Green in 1974. In 1975, Ben Dunne was the winner, a few weeks after running the famous Boston Marathon.
Both the 1976 and 1977 races were won by Harold St. Croix, a young runner from St. Mary’s Bay. In 1978, John Hill, one of British Columbia’s top runners, battled fierce heat for his victory in an excellent time of 51:03. Well-known distance runner Art Meaney, still a strong masters contender, won in 1979, to be followed in 1980 by the sensational Paul McCloy.
In his victory that year, McCloy became the first runner to break the 50-minute barrier, shattering the record for the Tely 10 when he crossed the finish line at 49:20.
Geoff Thompson, who had finished second to McCloy in the 1980 contest, added his name to the list of champions when he crossed the finish line first in 1981 in 51:28. The following year, a 19-year old New Brunswick runner, Greg Grondin, had to contend with both high temperatures and a record field to take first place in the 55th race. The young athlete led from the start and raced to the finish line in front of St. Thomas’ Church on Military Road in 50:56. One hundred and thirty-six runners finished that race.
In 1983, Geoff Thompson returned to lead 183 runners to the finish in a light rain which helped cool the competitors. Peter Lewis, who had placed second on two occasions in the previous three years, emerged the victor in 1984, as the numbers increased and 213 runners completed the course.
From 1985 to 1988, record numbers of participants each year continued to enter and complete the historic event. In 1985, McCloy broke his own record in winning the 59th running of the classic in 47:04, a record that may stand for some time. In 1986, in one of the finest contests ever, Dave Whittle sped to a personal best time of 50:56, leading 267 runners across the finish line.
Veteran Harold St. Croix, the 1976 and 1977 champion, returned after an absence of several years for two more victories in 1987 and 1988. In ’87, St. Croix faced cool temperatures, rain and a stiff breeze for his victory, while in 1988, he collapsed shortly after crossing the finish line after an all out effort over the last couple of miles. In 1989, the race went to Peter Lewis but St. Croix returned for his fifth victory in 1990.
The 1991 race also belonged to the popular St. Croix, as he not only claimed his 6th Tely title, but also became only the second competitor in the history of the race to run under 50 minutes. Distance running star, Paul McCloy, recorded two more impressive victories in 1992 and 1993, while in 1994, with hockey mascot, Buddy the Puffin, officially starting the race, Dave Ruggles raced home first in 51:07.
In 1995, as official entries edged closer to the five hundred mark, speedster Ernie Lucas managed to shake off all competitors on the second half of the course to record his first Tely 10 title. Lucas would return to race strongly to a second place finish in 1996 as Paul McCloy recorded his fifth victory, and the number of finishers soared above the 500 mark.
The number of finishers increased again in 1997 as Scott Young ran a smart race to become the new Tely champion. Young would successfully defend his title in 1998, running a time of 54:26 under wet and foggy conditions, and again in 1999 when he led almost 800 competitors to the finish line.
With Young absent from the first Tely race of the new millennium, Trevor O’Brien became the new Tely champion racing home under very hot conditions in a time of 53:06. In 2001, Chris Holden, a 30-year old chiropractor from Mount Pearl, grabbed an early lead and held it to race home first in a superb time of 50:44. O’Brien would return as champion in 2002 and again in 2003. But in 2004, it was once again Holden who broke the tape in a relatively slow time of 52:44
The 2005 Tely 10 witnessed a record number of 1690 participants turn out to make the trek from the Town of Paradise as the race continued to grow in popularity. This year also saw a new champion declared as Colin Fewer raced home the winner on wet and slippery roads.
Fewer would claim his second straight title in 2006 but in order to do so he would have to out-sprint five-time champion, Paul McCloy, just metres from the finish line.
Fewer would claim his third victory in 2007, his fourth in 2008 and his fifth in 2009. In doing so he would join some legendary company, becoming the seventh runner in Tely 10 history to record five or more victories. His time for the 2009 race was 50:41, run under cool and misty weather conditions accompanied by a slight but cool headwind from the east.
The 2009 Tely race would also see the greatest number of finishers ever as 2484 runners made their way over the scenic 10-mile course, the event becoming more popular than ever.
Women first started running The Telegram race in 1969 when 16-year old Jackie Kean entered the race to see if she could do it. Kean returned for a second victory in 1970. However, with the exception of a few female runners like Georgina Parsons, Bonnie Reid, Gail Vincent, Cindy French and Colleen Martin, it wasn’t until 10 years later in 1979, that the number of female competitors increased significantly.
Since then, women have turned in many outstanding performances in the Tely 10, perhaps the greatest being Nicola Will’s 1986 victory. In that race, Will finished in a record time of 55:47 for eight place overall, beating many top male runners.
Noeleen Wadden proved to be the top female runner in the early 90’s as she recorded first place finishes in 1990, 1992, and 1993, with only Sue Malone interrupting her winning streak in 1991. A young tri-athlete from Quebec, Isabelle Turcotte, won the 1994 event, while Tracy Pope became the female champion in 1995, starting slowly and increasing her pace later in the race.
In 1996, 44-year old Pam Bulgin surprised everyone, including herself, as she became the oldest runner ever to claim the female championship. In 1997, Susan King, waited until almost the last minute to enter, then raced home first in 64:01. In the 1998 contest, Noeleen Wadden visiting from Ottawa, showed that she had not lost any of her speed and endurance as she won her fourth Tely title.
Marie Decker’s turn to claim the female crown came in 1999 as the superbly fit athlete raced the course in 62 minutes and 43 seconds. Decker tried courageously to defend her title in the 2000 race, only to finish second as Allison Hobeika beat her to the tape by twenty seconds to become the new Tely champion. Hobeika would claim her second victory in 2001 as she led more than 400 females to the finish line.
The 2002 race would see a new female champion crowned as well-known cross-country runner Anne Barrington was first across the finish line, while in the 2003 event, Lisa Harvey, wife of six-time men’s champion, Paul McCloy, would lead all other females to the finish. Barrington would claim her second crown in 2004 as she led all other females to the finish in a superb time of 58:52, the 5th fastest women’s time ever.
In 2005 Caroline McIlroy, newly arrived in the province from Manchester, England, would add her name to the list of female champions. Finishing in a relatively slow winning time of 61:42, McIlroy, new to the 10-mile distance started out extremely fast, struggled in the latter stages, and just managed to hand on for victory.
Lisa Harvey, the 2003 champion, would return to the Tely race in 2006 to post the third fastest women’s time in Tely history, winning by a wide margin in 57:12.
Harvey would successfully defend her title in 2007, 2008 and 2009. The 2008 race, it may be noted, saw more female competitors than male for the first time ever. A record 2,047 runners completed the course that year.
In 2010, a sensational new female runner appeared on the scene as Kate Vaughan-Bazeley raced the course in 56:36, the second fastest female time ever, just forty-nine seconds of Nicola Will’s record of 55:47, set twenty-four years earlier in 1986. Vaughan-Bazeley would claim her second victory in 2011.
In the 2011 event, it may be noted, a record 2868 participants successfully completed the course with 474 more female competitors than males crossing the Bannerman Park finish line.
The number of participants gearing up for the Tely continued to increase in 2012, as five days before the race set this year for Sunday, July 22, registration had topped the previous year’s total with 3212 registered for the event. Another 369 would sign up before registration officially closed on Saturday evening.
3363 successfully completed the 10-mile course this year, with 27-year old, Matt Loiselle, from Windsor, Ontario, blitzing the course in 48:09, the third fastest time ever behind Paul McCloy’s 47:04 in 1985 and 47:54 in 1993. Former Olympian, Lisa Harvey, won her sixth Tely 10 title in 58:58, just two seconds ahead of Caroline McIlroy in one of the most exciting Tely 10 finishes ever.
Harvey would return in 2013 for her seventh victory, while in the men’s division, Dan McNeil from Halifax, Nova Scotia, claimed the title, running the course in 51:11, two minutes faster than his nearest rival. 3322 participants finished the course this year, down slightly from the previous year.
The numbers of successful Tely participants would rebound, however, in 2014 as 3774 made their way in over Topsail Road from the Town of Paradise to Bannerman Park. Colin Fewer would return as the men’s champion claiming his 8th Tely title, placing him in sole possession of second place on the all-time wins chart, just one behind renowned Pat Kelly’s nine victories.
In the female category, Kate Vaughan-Beazely, undoubtedly Newfoundland’s best female runner, dominated the women’s field by three minutes in coming close to setting a new female course record, falling just seven seconds short of Nicola Will’s 1986 time of 55:47.
The 88th running of the Tely 10 in 2015, was held under chilly conditions as the temperature dropped to just 7 degrees C and a light mist greeted the runners for the 8 am. start in the Town of Paradise.
Forty-nine minutes and twenty-five seconds later Matt Loiselle of Windsor, Ont. Crossed the finish line at Bannerman Park, posting the fifth fastest time in Tely 10 history. It was Loiselle’s second victory in the prestigious race.
In the female division, Anne (Barrinton) Johnston claimed her third Tely crown, running the scenic Topsail Road course in 58:58, just six seconds slower than her winning time in 2004, eleven years earlier.
A record 4128 participants completed the course with 830 more female runners than male.
With the 89th running of this classic race scheduled for July 24 of 2016, defending champion Matt Loiselle, the Windsor, Ontario, speedster, was undoubtedly considered one of the favourites, hoping to make it two in a row. Strong competition, however, was expected from 8th time champion, Colin Fewer, as well as from Marystown native Ryan Brockerville, Graydon Snyder of Montreal and a tough local competitor, David Freake.
However at the finish on a relatively warm day with 20 degree plus temperatures, it was Fewer first down Bannerman Road to the thunderous applause of the finish line crowds, his 9th victory tying him for most Tely victories with the renowned Pat Kelly, a Tely champion in the 1930’s and 40’s.
In the female division, it was Kate Bazely who excited the spectators along the course and at the finish as she sped the 10 mile distance to a new female record of 55:34, eclipsing Nicola Will’s record of 55:47, one that had stood for more than 30 years. An historic achievement indeed for Bazely!
Caroline McIlroy was the second female across the line this year, with Jennifer Murrin 3rd, and the defending champion, Anne Johnson, 4th.
Of the 4912 participants registered, 4349 finished the race, many either not starting or unable to finish the trek owing to the very warm temperatures on this July day.
2017 was a historic one for the Tely 10 as it celebrated its 90th running on July 23 under pleasant weather conditions with sunny skies and 14 degree temperatures. Registration was once again close to the 5000 mark, as this historic and popular race continued to attract participants.
The big news this year was that the female division was wide open as the defending race champion and new record holder, Kate Bazely, would not be back to defend her title. Bazely had sustained a serious knee injury during the winter and in addition was about to deliver her second child.
In her absence, tough competition was expected from several top female runners, among them Caroline McIlroy the 2005 winner, Alison Walsh, Jennifer Murrin, Lisa Collins-Sheppard, and Jennifer Baron.
First across the Bannerman Road finish line this time was Murrin in 57:14, putting her in the top 10 of all-time finish times for female competitors. Lisa Collins-Sheppard was the runner-up with veteran Caroline McIlroy crossing the finish line in the third position.
History was made once again this year, this time in the men’s division as the defending champion, Colin Fewer, recorded his record 10th Tely victory, surpassing Pat Kelly’s long standing 9 Tely wins. A remarkable performance for this outstanding runner.
Fewer’s time was a quick 49:41, the sixth fastest ever recorded in the Tely. Matt Loiselle, the champion from 2012 and 2015 placed second in 50:27 with David Freke 3rd in 51.22.
The 91st running of the Tely 10 once again saw a great number of participants register and successfully complete the course. This year for the first time, Marathon Photos, a world-leading road race photography company was designated the official photographer of the course.
Also new this time round was a medal design contest for the Tely 10 finisher’s medal, a contest open to all from mid-January to mid-March, with the winning concept and design being used in the creation of the 2018 medal to be awarded to each finisher in this year’s race.
Among the top male contestants who would bear watching this year were nine-time winner and defending champion, Colin Fewer, Graydon Snider of Montreal, a four-time runner-up, Peter Bazeley, Peter Power, Nick Snow, Ryan Brockerville and new-comer, Chris Galley.
A splendid competition was also shaping up in the female division as former winners Kate Bazeley, Anne Johnson and Jennifer Murrin had all registered for the event. Murrin was the defending champion while Johnson had already won the historic race three times. Bazeley, undoubtedly the province’s best female distance runner was not only a four-time Tely winner, but also the overall female record holder, having powered over the course in 55 minutes and 34 seconds in the 2016 contest.
Sunday, July 22, race day, was quite warm and very humid as over 4600 runners and walkers made their way to the starting area on McNamara Drive in the Town of Paradise. Runners dressed in brilliantly colored running apparel, arriving individually or in small and large groups, were all excited and hyped for the big race. Many jogged and danced about, stretching and bouncing, while others sat serenely and perhaps meditated or prepared mentally for the task ahead. Up-beat music filled the air, entertaining the crowd, and excitement was everywhere.
Once the traditional Ode to Newfoundland had been sung and the starting pistol sounded, it was Colin Fewer, the defending champion who bolted to the front of the pack, quickly chased by Snider, Brockerville, Power, and a dozen or more elite runners.
Jennifer Murrin, the reigning female champion, was there as well, as were former Tely winners Bazeley and Johnson. Lisa Collins-Sheppard, Jennifer Barron, Alison Walsh and Jenelle Simmons were also off to a great start this year.
As in previous years, small clusters of spectators gathered along the course, applauding and cheering loudly as one after another the speedy runners raced by. Many held signs encouraging the participants on. Those noisy crowds would greatly increase in size in the latter stages of the race.
At the finish line in Bannerman Park, it was the defending champion, Colin Fewer, who was first to the finish line in 52 minutes and 5 seconds, as horns blared, bells rang and tremendous applause filled the morning air.
Thirty-five seconds later, Graydon Snider crossed the timing mats in second place for an unbelievable fifth time. Finishing in the third position was Chris Galley in 54:01, followed by Nick Snow in 54:22.
In the female division, it was the defending champion, Jennifer Murrin, who was the first to hear the finish area noise as she surged over the course in 56:58, the sixth fastest time ever run by a female contestant. Anne Johnson, the three-time Tely champion was next to hear the energetic applause and cheering of the finish area spectators as she raced across the line in 57:34, the tenth fastest finish time by a female runner in the Tely race.
The overall Tely 10 female record holder, Kate Bazeley, was the third female to be welcomed to the finish line in 58:41, followed by Jennifer Barron and Lisa Collins-Sheppard.
The 2018 edition of this classic and historic race saw 4167 participants successfully complete the course.
In contrast to the warm temperatures and high humidity that undoubtedly slowed the finishing times in last year’s race, Sunday, July 28, dawned a glorious morning in the Town of Paradise. Almost ideal weather conditions existed with a slight breeze wafting out of the west, fluffy clouds drifting lazily overhead and very low humidity. No one would have guessed that on this day, history would be made with a new female record being established for this legendary event.
This year a new starting area had been designated for the race, moving the usual starting line from McNamara Drive to a point further west on Topsail Road to accommodate road construction in the area. This new starting line would actually be quite close to where those early Tely 10 contestants once toed the line anxiously awaiting the starter’s signal almost 100 years ago.
Upwards of 4,000 runners and walkers were expected to be at the starting line for this year’s event, the number down significantly from the more than 4,600 who registered for last year’s race. Perhaps inclement weather in May and June being the reason many decided to take a pass on the event this year.
As for which of the top runners would do well in this Tely contest, veteran runner and popular coach, Art Meaney, gave the matter a great deal of thought and consulted his various sources, before once again giving the nod this year to the defending champion, Colin Fewer.
Fewer would be challenged by other top runners like Matt Noseworthy, a former cross-country runner from the University of Victoria, British Columbia, and by Graydon Snider, an incredible five-time runner-up in the Tely. Grant Handrigan, Mark Greene, David Freake, Nick Snow, Zach Putt, Peter Bazeley and Peter Power would all be among the top male finishers this year, noted the veteran analyst.
As for the female contestants this year, Meaney was absolutely certain that three former great Tely champions would battle it out over the ten-mile course. The defending champion, Jennifer Murrin, the overall female record holder, Kate Bazeley, and former three-time champion, Anne Johnson, were all in fantastic racing condition, making this perhaps the most exciting female race ever. Bazeley, however, would be the first to Bannerman Park, noted Meaney.
Other female contenders who could do very well in this year’s contest included Jade Roberts, veterans Krissy Dooling, Karen Stacey and Janelle Simmons and newcomer, Sarah Molloy.
Once again, it came as no surprise that many more females than males were now registering for the annual 10-mile event, a trend started some ten or more years earlier. In the 2017 contest, for example, 1,009 more female contestants than males had successfully completed the course, while in the 2018 event, a year of warm temperatures and high humidity, 866 more female participants than male had crossed the finish line in Bannerman Park.
Of note here, it was exactly 50 years ago in 1969 when the first female runner entered The Telegram race, at the time perceived to be an all-male competition. Sixteen year old Jackie Kean entered to see “if she could do it”, and successfully finished in 1:34:46, surprising the small group of officials and spectators gathered at the finish line. The entire race, incidentally, was run that year on the new King George V Track by Quidi Vidi Lake - forty laps from start to finish, but ah, no hills!
At the finish line this year, it was once again the ten-time champion, Colin Fewer, who was welcomed first to the tape, having set a torrid pace in the early miles of the contest, hoping perhaps that on such a glorious morning he could run under the elusive 49 minute mark. His time, an impressive 49:49, just eight seconds off his personal best of 49:41, set two years earlier in 2017.
Graydon Snider, the perennial competitor from Montreal, once again finished in second place in 51:11, claiming the runner-up spot for an incredible sixth time. What would he have to do, he wondered, to win this classic event. Matt Noseworthy was the third male contestant across the finish line in 51:13, a mere two seconds behind Snider.
In the female division, three-time champion, Anne Johnson, not only out-paced two other former champions, Jennifer Murrin and Kate Bazeley, but was also boisterously and enthusiastically welcomed to the tape in a new personal best time and a new outstanding female record of 54:25, one minute and nine seconds faster than the existing female record of 55:34 set by Bazeley in 2016.
Murrin, the defending champion, had to settle for second this year, completing the course in 54:55, just half a minute behind Johnson, setting not only a new personal best but also smashing Bazeley’s existing female Tely record of 55:34. The former record holder had to be content with third place this year, once again being noisly welcomed to the finish in 56:05.
A total of 3,693 runners and walkers successfully completed the 92nd running of The Telegram 10-mile Road Race.
Year 2020 - A Virtual Tely
September 15 - November 15, 2020
As the snowdrifts from the winter’s major snow storm, dubbed “Snowmageddon”, gradually began to recede with the coming of spring, the province found itself having to deal with a new problem, an unknown virus, COVID-19, that was now beginning to spread throughout the province, the country and the entire world. This resulted in a public health emergency being declared by the provincial government resulting in the cancellation of many annual social and sporting events and others where mass gatherings of people were involved.
So by early May with no end of the pandemic in sight, The Newfoundland and Labrador Athletic Association (NLAA) was forced to cancel a number of races on the spring road race calendar, including the popular Boston Pizza Flat Out 5 km race, the Nautilus Mundy Pond 5 km. race, and the traditional Harbour Front 10 km. The big question that now had to be answered was whether the annual Tely 10, scheduled this year for July 26, would be permitted to go ahead as it normally attracted up to 4000 participants and numerous spectators. The staging of an event of this magnitude would obviously contravene public health guidelines.
Tely 10 race organizers, therefore, were now left to consider two options for the popular event: the historic race could perhaps be held at a date later in the fall or it could be cancelled altogether for 2020. A decision would have to be made soon as a race the magnitude of the Tely involved a tremendous amount of long-term planning.
So towards the end of May, NLAA Technical Director George Stanoev, was indicating to the press and on social media that race organizers were still hopeful that a fall running of the race could take place this year. This was despite the evidence that other large mass social and sports gatherings were now being postponed or cancelled altogether.
However, just two months later at the end of July, the NLAA announced that due to the continued widespread of the COVID-19 virus, it was left with no choice but to cancel the in-person Tely race for this year. In a statement released to the media, it indicated that with such a large number of participants it would be impossible to maintain the safety guidelines as set out by the Dept. of Health. A virtual Tely race would therefore be held, giving everybody a chance to run the Tely anywhere within a set two-month period.
So with the in-person running of the race cancelled and a new virtual format introduced in its place, plans were now made to expand on the traditional race to include shorter and longer distances for participants to cover. Those interested in completing a Tely race this year could now run, walk or wheel at their own pace at any time or in any place. This could include roads, trails, tracks, treadmills or even backyards. All would have to be carried out within a two-month challenge period between September 15 and November 15.
New for this virtual format, race organizers had included a Tely race for kids aged 6 - 11 years. Within the two-month challenge period, a total of 10 miles would have to be covered. This 10-mile distance could be run in any number of segments.
A second challenge this year was for those 12 years old and older not wishing to run the entire 10 mile distance. This was a Tely 5-mile competition where those taking part would have to complete a 5 mile distance in one segment. However multiple 5-mile distances could be run to improve one’s best efforts within the designated challenge period.
And of course, for participants 15 years old or older, the complete traditional Tely 10-mile distance could be covered in one segment at one time. This distance could also be completed multiple times within the challenge period for best results.
A further challenge for this year’s participants was a 92-mile Tely Endurance run to celebrate the 92nd running of this historic event. Those opting for this challenge would have to run the 92 miles in segments within the two month challenge period.
Registration for this new virtual running of the Tely would take place between September 1 and September 30. Finishers’ medals and neck gaiters would be mailed out to successful participants after November 15. 2020.
Year 2021 - A Late October Tely
Sunday, October 31, 8:00 am
With the 2020 running of the historic Tely 10 road race having been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the world for over a year now, hundreds of regular Tely 10 runners were obviously delighted in mid-August, 2021, when organizers announced that this year the popular ten-mile run from the Town of Paradise to Bannerman Park in St. John’s would be held three months later than usual on Sunday, October 31 - Halloween to many!
The race this year would once again be an in-person event with the number of race participants limited to 2500 or so runners. And in keeping with Public Health guidelines, the popular awards ceremony would not take place immediately following the race in order to limit the number of those gathering in and near the finish area. Once having crossed the finish line, race participants would pick up their finishing medal from a table, as well as some food items and bottled water, and then make their way out of the finish area.
Among the top female runners expected to run well this year were Anne Johnston, the 2019 champion, Kate Bazeley, the 2014 and 2016 champion and former record holder, and Jennifer Murrin, the 2017 and 2018 champion. Other highly respected female runners who undoubtedly would place among the top females this year included Jennifer Barron, Stephanie Nevin, Alison Walsh, Susan Hayward and Jenelle Simmons.
As far as the male competition was concerned, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that Colin Fewer was the clear favourite again this year. Fewer had already won the Tely twelve times and was still not showing any signs of slowing down. In two previous Tely competitions, he had run under the elusive 50 minute mark: in 2010 when he was clocked at 49:48 and again in 2017, when he raced the course in 49:41, his personal best time.
This year, however, Fewer’s main competitor and runner-up for the past several years, Gaydon Snider of Montreal, would not be travelling to the province as would a number of other fine runners from outside Newfoundland and Labrador, given the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. Michael Kondro a fine runner from Alberta, however, would be here as he was visiting the city and just two weeks ago had won the tough Cape to Cabot 20 km race.
Peter Bazeley and Mark Greene were also expected to put in strong performances this year as were Zach Putt and Dan MacDonald.
So on a chilly late October Halloween morning with frost covering the windshields of vehicles parked nearby, scores of runners boarded yellow school buses either at the Confederation Building parking lot, or at the Johnson’s parking near the Fort William Building. Many were dressed in colorful Halloween costumes, and since it was still early morning, most were rather quiet. They were thinking, no doubt, about the challenging task ahead. And yes, due to COVID-19 protocols, all were wearing non-medical face masks.
In the early stages of the race then it was Colin Fewer, Peter Bazeley, Mark Croft and Dan MacDonald who were setting the pace. Mark Greene, Ryan Brown and Martin Njenga were several metres back running strongly and trying to maintain contact with those out front. Fewer, though, was setting a sizzling pace even this early in the contest.
In the female division, a tremendous battle was shaping up between the three former Tely champions. Kate Bazeley, Anne Johnston, and Jennifer Murrin were all off to a tremendous start, with Jade Roberts and Jennifer Barron not all that far behind. These would undoubtedly be the pace setters for the other female contenders in this classic race.
To no one’s surprise then, the first male competitor to come racing towards the finish line to the delight, enthusiastic applause and wild cheering from the spectators, was the twelve-time and defending champion, Colin Fewer. His time as he sprinted across the timing mats was a respectable 50:52, identical to his 2014 winning time, and just over a minute off his personal best time of 49:41 set in the 2017 contest.
Mark Greene in 54:37 was the runner-up this year with Dan MacDonald, the sixth place finisher from 2017 finishing third.
Rounding out the top five male positions in this late October contest were Ryan Brown, fourth, in a time of 55:42 and Peter Bazeley, fifth, in 56:03.
The buzz, cheering and applause from the finish area spectators for the top two male finishers had scarcely died away when it rose quickly once again to even greater heights as the first female competitor was spotted rounding that sharp left bend from Military Road onto Bannerman Road. This was Kate Bazeley, a four-time Tely champion and former record holder, claiming her fifth Tely title.
Just five seconds after Bazeley had crossed the finish line, another four-time Tely champion came flying down Bannerman Road. This was the current record holder, Anne Johnston, who set the current female record of 54:25 in the 2019 contest. Her time this year was less than a minute off her record mark as she crossed the finish line in 55:15 for an overall fifth place finish.
The third female to race to the finish arch on Bannerman Road was the 2017 and 2018 champion, Jennifer Murrin, who this year ran the course in 56:39, nine seconds faster than her winning time in 2018, and good for a tenth place overall finish in this year’s contest. Jade Roberts, a cross-country runner from Memorial University finished fourth, while Jennifer Barron was fifth.
This late October Tely, or Halloween Tely, as it will be undoubtedly referred to by many, will perhaps be remembered best for the fantastic performances of the top three female runners, Kate Bazeley, Anne Johnston and Jennifer Murrin, all former Tely champions. And of course, Colin Fewer will go down in the history books for winning this prestigious race for the thirteenth time. This perhaps, is a record that will never be broken.
Year 2022 - A Thanksgiving Tely
Saturday, October 8, 8:00 am
The 94th running of the historic Tely 10 Road Race was initially scheduled for July 24th this year, but in the days leading up to that day, race organizers were increasingly concerned that for the second straight year, the race might once again have to be rescheduled. It wasn’t the COVID pandemic this year that had the race officials worried, but the fact that for several days now, the St. John’s region had been experiencing extremely high temperatures, often nearing the 30 degree C mark.
So as race day neared, many of those entering the event had already picked up their race kits and were excitedly looking forward to the big day. Some undoubtedly were concerned about the warm temperatures. But then after some rather hurried consultations with various running clubs, municipal and business partners and other road race supporters, a decision was made less than 24 hours before start time to reschedule the prestigious event for later in the fall, the exact date to be announced in the coming weeks.
According to George Stanoev, Executive Director of the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Association, the unprecedented weather conditions forecast for Sunday morning posed significant chances of possible heat exhaustion or heat stroke for the race participants, thus making it too risky to stage a 10-mile distance race in such hot and humid conditions. In fact, Environment Canada had issued multiple high heat warnings for much of the province in recent days. Stanoev also gave some indication that given the increasingly warm weather in July in recent years, the date for the annual historic race might have to be moved permanently from this particular time period.
So some weeks later, it was eventually announced that this year’s race would now take place on the second weekend in October, Saturday, October 8, the traditional Thanksgiving weekend across the province and the country. This would be the first time in 55 years since 1967 that the race would be run on a Saturday morning. Don Coaker was the winner that year in a time of 58:20, a 6th victory for Coaker.
The last minute cancellation and rescheduling of the late July Tely was understandably frustrating and disappointing for many runners. Many had already travelled to the city specifically for the race, booking hotel rooms and restaurants and looking forward to an exciting weekend. The change of date to the fall would just not work for many of those runners as work, schools, travel, etc. would all have to be considered. Still the runners understood the decision to reschedule, primarily to keep everyone safe and avoid any heat related casualties.
And so on a cool, clear and dark October morning, over 2000 runners and walkers found themselves on Empire Ave or on the Confederation Building parking lot, boarding buses for transportation to the start of the Tely, 10 miles away in the Town of Paradise. The temperature that morning stood at 10 C and basically no wind was blowing, so different from the 28 degree C day in July.
If one were to look carefully at the front lines this year then, a number of strong, talented runners like Mark Greene, Ben Collingwood, Michael King, and Daniel Conway could be spotted along with three of the top female competitors and former Tely 10 winners, Anne Johnson, Kate Bazeley and Jennifer Murrin. Four time provincial marathon winner, Ed Durnford, a strong, determined runner, was also there in the front ranks.
At precisely 8 o’clock, the starting pistol was sounded sending the front runners on their way to that distant finish line on Bannerman Road in the heart of the capital city. Up front and then just several minutes into the race, a small band of runners including Mark Greene, Jordan Fewer, Michael King and Daniel Conway were setting a fast pace, all running smoothly and quite relaxed along the course. Ben Collingwood, Martin Njenga, Alex Pittman, Chris Payne and several other strong competitors followed just a few metres behind. Three top female competitors, Kate Bazeley, Anne Johnson, and Jennifer Murrin, all former Tely champions, were also there among those top male runners on this particular day.
Small groups of spectators positioned here and there all along the Tely route were also encouraging the runners along, enthusiastically applauding and noisily ringing bells. Occasionally a runner would be recognized and his or her name would be shouted out by the spectators. This was always a welcome gesture for those perhaps struggling along the course.
In the final stretches of the course along Hamilton Ave. and LeMarchant Road the front positions had changed very little. Jordan Fewer was still striding comfortably along in the number one position, although now he was trying very hard to pick up his pace a little. Mark Greene was still less than half a minute behind and Alexander Pittman, Ben Collingwood, Michael King and a number of other strong competitors were just a couple of minutes back. That final push to the finish line was now definitely underway.
The top female runners had by now joined that surge towards the finish line. The defending champion, Kate Bazeley, was up there with the top ten or so male runners, but so was the Tely female record holder, Anne Johnson. Jennifer Murrin, the Tely female champion from both the 2017 and 2018 Tely races was also holding her own, but had slipped a minute or so behind.
Near the finish line on Bannerman Road, hundreds of spectators had gathered behind the portable fences, eagerly awaiting the winner of this year’s event. Soon the cheering and applause began to get louder and louder as the first male competitor was spotted making that sharp turn into Bannerman Road.
To the delight, applause and perhaps surprise of the noisy spectators, it wasn’t the defending Tely champion and an unprecedented thirteen-time winner, Colin Fewer, who came flying down those final few metres towards the finish line tape. Instead it was a another Fewer, Colin’s nephew, Jordan Fewer, who raced triumphantly to the finish, raising his arms high in victory as the sped across the finish line in a fine time of 53:29.
The excitement in the crowd, and the applause and cheering for the first place finisher, was still echoing in the still morning air, when the second male competitor, Mark Greene, came tearing down to the finish in 53:45, a mere sixteen seconds behind Fewer. This was the second straight year that Greene had finished in the runner-up position.
Next to hear the cheering and noise of the crowd was Ben Collingwood having raced the course from the Town of Paradise in 55:58, just over two minutes behind Greene. Rounding out the top five male positions were two more strong runners, Michael King in 56:02 and Alexander Pittman in 56:07, an exciting finish indeed.
Pittman was indeed somewhat lucky to place in the fifth overall position this year, for just three seconds after he had raised his arms crossing the finish line, Kate Bazely, the defending female champion and five-time winner of this historic road race, raced triumphantly to the tape, a broad smile on her face. Her time this year was 56:10, down just a minute or so from the previous year.
Little over a minute had elapsed after Bazeley had crossed the finish line, when another former Tely female champion sped down Bannerman Road delighting the finish area spectators even more. Boisterously applauding and cheering, they welcomed the current Tely female record holder to the finish line. This was Anne Johnson, a four-time winner of this historic race. Her time this year was 57:12, giving her an 8th place overall finish. And for the second straight year, Johnson finished in the runner-up female division, having been victorious in the 2019 contest.
Racing down Bannerman Road to finish third in the female division was Jennifer Murrin, the Tely winner form 2017 and 2018. Murrin’s time in this rather unusual Thanksgiving Tely was 58:57, good for a 13th overall position. In the previous year’s contest, she had raced the course in 56:39 to finish 10th overall.
Another Jennifer, Jennifer Barron, finishing fourth in 59:35 and Allyson Stuckless in 1:03:34, rounded out the top five female positions.
Nineteen hundred and sixty-six participants successfully completed the 94th running of the historic Tely race, with 868 male and 1098 female.
Year 2023 - Ontario Runner Claims Tely Title
Sunday, June 25, 8:00 am
With the classic and historic Telegram 10 Mile Road Race having been rescheduled to early October in 2022 because of an unprecedented heatwave sweeping the eastern part of the province, many regular Tely participants were wondering when the race would be held in 2023. They were also recalling that 2021 had seen a rescheduling of the popular mid-summer event to a date in late October that year, primarily because of the world-wide COVID pandemic. Many were therefore pleased and delighted to hear race organizers announce in late November, 2022, that this popular event would now take place on Sunday, June 25, 2023. This would mark the first time since 1980, 43 years ago, that this prestigious race would be held in early summer.
This would be the 95th running of this historic road race, first run in 1922, and cancelled only twice before, once for six years, 1940 - 1945 during World War 11, and more recently due to the COVID outbreak in 2020.
With the race now scheduled for approximately a month earlier than it would normally take place, official registration for this year’s contest would begin on Thursday, March 16, with the number of entries being capped at 3400 participants. This was considered an adequate number as in the last couple of years less than 2500 runners and walkers had made their way to the finish line in Bannerman Park in the capital city, perhaps due to the rescheduled dates. Registered almost immediately for the 2023 event, however, were approximately 100 participants who had elected to have their 2022 entry deferred, owing to it being rescheduled to the October date.
Among the top male runners registered for the race this year was the defending champion, Jordan Fewer, along with a newcomer from Ontario, Noah Defreyne. Mark Greene, the runner-up in 2022 would also be there, as well as the third place finisher from that contest, Ben Collingwood. In the 2022 contest Fewer had run 53:29 to claim his victory, just 16 seconds ahead of runner-up Green, who breasted the tape in 53:45. Collingwood, a little distance behind in third, finished in 55:58.
Other strong runners who could claim the 2023 Tely title included Peter Bazeley, Grant Handrigan, Michael King, Alex Pittman, James Power and Daniel Conway. Bazeley had run a strong race two years earlier in 2021 finishing 7th in 56:03, while Conway had been just seventeen seconds behind him in 56:20. Both would undoubtedly be among the lead runners again today.
In the female division, six-time winner and current defending champion, Kate Bazeley, would be at the start line and undoubtedly the race favourite. In 2016, she had broken Nicola Will’s 30 year old female record of 55:47, when she raced the course in 55:34, a record that stood for three years until Anne Johnson eclipsed it with a 54:25 victory in 2019. Other strong contenders for this year’s contest included Jennifer Barron, Allyson Stuckless, Laura O’Keefe, Maria Chafe and Laura Lawes. Barron had finished 4th in the 2022 contest crossing the finish line in 59:37 while Stuckless had finished in 1:03:34 for 5th. Four time champion and present female record holder, Anne Johnson, and the two time winner from 2017 and 2018, Jennifer Murrin, unfortunately would not be competing this time round.
So on race day as the official starting time of 8 am neared, and the traditional Ode to Newfoundland was sung, wheelchair participant, Brittany Grandy, was sent on her way, amidst the loud cheers, shouts and applause of the almost 2300 participants now crowding the corrals. Many of those kept glancing at the sky and were understandably nervous as the morning was becoming very, very warm and humid. This would undoubtedly present some challenges for many of them today. But then a couple of minutes later, the starting pistol sounded sending the entire field on its way to that distant finish line in historic Bannerman Park in the central part of St. John’s. The 95th running of the prestigious Tely 10 race was underway.
As the runners made their way through the Town of Paradise in the early stages of the race and then into the City of Mt. Pearl, the first refreshment station came into sight. Here a number of volunteers were kept quite busy handing out cups of water and Gatorade as most race participants realized that keeping well hydrated was now vital on such an extremely warm and humid morning, so very different from those rather cold days experienced throughout much of the month of June.
A number of Saint John Ambulances had by now also started to patrol the course, closely monitoring any participant showing early signs of dehydration or fatigue. As the next two hours would show, this would indeed be a busy day for them as a number of runners would collapse on the course and have to be removed from the race. Several would also have to be transported to nearby hospitals.
By the mid-point of the race, all the front runners had by now settled into their race, keeping a keen eye on each other. The visiting Ontario runner, Noah Defreyne, continued to set the pace, but he was closely shadowed by the defending champion, Jordan Fewer. Grant Handrigan, Alex Pittman, and Michael King were only a short distance behind. All were racing extremely well despite the escalating temperature. Callum Drever, James Power, Peter Bazeley and Ben Collingwood were also having a tremendous race, but all these experienced runners, were undoubtedly taking great care not to push the pace too hard.
As for the female contenders in today’s race, the defending champion, Kate Bazeley, was well out front, tucked in among the top male runners, and leaving no doubt the today she was gunning for her 7th Tely championship, which would tie her with Lisa Harvey for the most Tely victories. She would admit afterwards that even though she had run a tremendous race, the warm and humid racing conditions prevented her from pushing the pace even harder.
The defending champion, Jordan Fewer, meanwhile, was also pushing hard towards the finish, as was the defending female champion, Kate Bazeley, and a number of other contenders were just a couple of hundred metres behind, among them Grant Handrigan, Michael King and Mark Greene. Sawyer Leblanc, James Power and Alex Pittman were there as well but by now were running out of time if they were to overtake Defreyne and Drever.
The leading female runner, Kate Bazeley, the six time Tely champion, was not too concerned about being overtaken late in the race as by now she had established a commanding lead on Jennifer Barron, Maria Chafe and Allyson Stuckless. This was so very much unlike the previous two years when she had battled two former female Tely champions, Jenifer Murrin and Anne Johnson for the top spot, neither of whom were competing in today’s race.
At Bannerman Park, to the surprise perhaps, of the hundreds of assembled spectators out to witness this historic race, it was the Ontario runner, Noah Defreyne, who came tearing down that final stretch towards the finish line, smiling broadly and raising his arms in victory, amidst enthusiastic applause from the excited crowd. His time at the tape was 53:40, an impressive time on this warm and muggy day.
Just sixteen seconds after Defreyne had crossed the finish line, another newcomer, Callum Drever, raced to the finish in 53:56, once again raising sustained cheering from the Bannerman Park spectators. This applause and cheering had barely started to fade when the defending champion, Jordan Fewer, made that sharp left turn onto the homestretch and came flying to the finish in 54:22, amidst even louder applause as he was recognized by the numerous spectators crowding the finish area.
Just thirty-two seconds after the top three male contestants had raced to the finish, the first female runner in today’s race, came tearing down Bannerman Road. This was six-time winner and defending champion, Kate Bazeley, who triumphantly raised her arms and flashed a wide smile as she zoomed across the finish line, much to the delight and excitement of the spectators.
Bazeley’s time at the finish was 54:55, a personal best for her, a minute and fifteen seconds faster than her time the previous year. This was her seventh Tely victory moving her into a tie with Lisa Harvey for the most female wins in this historic event.
The second female to cross the finish line in today’s contest was Jennifer Barron in 1:00:46. Third place went to Maria Chafe in 1:05:23, with Allyson Stuckless just six seconds behind her in 1:05:29. Karen Penwell rounded out the top five female positions crossing the finish line in 1:06.03.
Speaking with the media following the morning race, Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Association Executive-Director, George Stanoev, indicated that overall organizers were pleased with how the race had unfolded, despite the heat and humidity which had caused some problems for quite a number of race participants.
As to whether the annual Tely race would now move to late June from its usual late July date, primarily due to the increasing warm weather each year, Stanoev noted that there were several variables to be considered. A thorough evaluation would be made of all these factors before setting the date for 2024.