It was status quo at The Telegram 10-Mile Road Race Sunday morning, with pre-race favourites and defending champs Colin Fewer and Kate Vaughan running away with the men’s and women’s titles in the 84th annual race.
For Fewer, it was his seventh straight Tely 10 victory, placing the Paradise runner in elite company. Only Cliff Stone (1926-32) and George Hillier (1950-56) have won seven consecutive Tely 10 races.
Pat Kelly is the record holder, with nine straight from 1933-1947, a period of time that saw the races postponed for five years during the Second World War.
For Vaughan, it was victory No. 2, after the St. John’s native won last year’s race, unseating four-time winner Lisa Harvey.
Fewer and Vaughan were the second-fastest male and female to cover the course in 2010; Fewer trailing only Paul McCloy, owner of the Top 3 times, and Vaughan second to Nicola Will, who has the quickest two female times.
On Sunday, however, neither Fewer nor Vaughan managed to establish a new course record. Rather, the record which everyone was talking about was the 3,045 who registered for the race. A total of 2,863 finished.
The race continues to have a heavy female participant rate, with three out of five runners or walkers being women.
The story of the day Sunday was the weather. As the entrants gathered at the start line in Paradise they were greeted with a thunder and lightning show over Conception Bay.
The temperature for the start was 9.4 degrees, but it was the wind, southeast at 24 kilometres per hour, that had the elite runners talking afterwards.
“The first five miles, we were really going into the wind,” said Fewer, who finished in a downpour in 51:19, a minute and eight seconds ahead of second-place finisher Graydon Snider of Montreal.
“No doubt we conceded some time to the wind.”
Grant Handrigan of Marystown was third in 53:14 followed by Michael King of St. John’s in 54:38. Peter Power of St. John’s rounded out the Top 5, crossing the finish line in 55:05.
For Vaughan, the 27-year-old, who like Fewer is a teacher, held out hope for favourable weather conditions, even as she approached the start line on McNamara Road in Paradise.
“But once we turned the corner (on Topsail Rd.), into the headwind, it kind of started to sink in,” she said. “This was not a record day. It was just about trying to get the win.”
Vaughan stopped the clock in 57:43, while Harvey was second in 59:12.
For Harvey, a Calgary resident and former Olympian, she has finished first four times and second twice in the last six Tely 10 races.
Caroline McIlroy of Portugal Cove-St. Philips was third in 1:00.03 followed by Allison Walsh if St. John’s in 1:01.53 and Karen Stacey of Paradise in 1:02.03.
Despite the heavy rain, which lasted about five or 10 minutes, dousing the competitors and hundreds of spectators lining the finish line route along Bannerman Road, the 2011 Tely 10 was a resounding success for the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Association (NLAA).
The race is the NLAA’s primary event for the summer season, with all funds generated used to run its programs.