It’s somewhat intimidating to stand among close to 3,600 people preparing to take part in a 10-mile road race knowing that you are not in a position to join them at the starting line.
Many have well-shaped calves and sleek physiques that speak to months or years of training. But others might not. Truthfully, anyone willing to run or stroll as part of the annual Tely 10 road race can choose to do so.
Participation for this year’s event, which concluded for the 85th time Sunday, reached a new record high. Of those 3,581 registered to take part, almost 2,100 were women.
Everyone has their own reasons to get involved. Art Meaney, 1979 male champion, was particularly delighted to reach the finish line Sunday. This time last year, the 68-year-old Meaney could only observe the race while recovering from a heart attack.
“I kept telling people I was going to try and run faster than my age,” said Meaney. “So actually, I did. I ran 67:58.”
Heart disease is also a matter of importance for the Keats family of Channel-Port aux Basques.
“In my family, we have heart disease on my father’s side and on my mother’s side, and usually anybody in my family has had heart trouble by the age of 35,” said David Keats, who raced in his second Tely 10 Sunday.
“I’m 40 now, and I haven’t had any trouble. I have my blood work done every year, and it’s excellent.”
Keats keeps fit along with his wife Rhonda Keats through running. It was Rhonda who actually first got him involved. Both are part of
a local running club in Channel-Port aux Basques.
Joining them for Sunday’s race was their
16-year-old daughter Haylee and David’s 68-year-old mother, Christine Keats — three generations of Keats in all.
“You’ve kind of got to push yourself to keep going, but I find it good,” said Christine Keats, who also teaches aerobics in her home community of Buchans. “I like exercising anyway.”
Families take part in a variety of ways at the Tely 10. Members of the Fry family have been gathering near the Brookfield Fire Station for almost 30 years to cheer on every runner that passes by them on Topsail Road, and they did so again Sunday.
Similar to the Keats, the Brown family had a strong contingent on hand for Sunday’s race, with siblings Samantha and Stephen joining their parents Robert and Gloria Brown.
“I guess for 20 years we’ve been running this, myself and Robert,” said Gloria Brown.
Robert Brown says he appreciates the challenge of taking part in the race, while his wife also highlights the benefits of active living. Not simply content to show up and run, the couple typically prepare for several months prior to the Tely 10.
“It’s a four or five-month thing to run almost every second day, if not every day,” said Robert Brown. “We get in shape for this race.”
Representing another positive, yet weirder, side of Tely 10 participation on Sunday was Tomas Shea, who did not wear obvious running attire — heavy orange overalls and a clone trooper helmet from the world of Stars Wars.
Shea raced in support of Engineers Without Borders at Memorial University, collecting $300 from sponsors prior to Sunday’s event. Those funds will go towards the national Run To End Poverty campaign, which aims to eliminate extreme poverty in rural Africa.
Looking for a unique way to attract sponsors, Shea came up with the idea of running in his unconventional outfit.
“It’s hard to get attention and hope to get sponsors for just running this race — so many people do it.”
Speaking with The Telegram prior to the race, Shea said he had finished the Tely 10 once before, but not while wearing orange overalls and a plastic helmet that covers his entire head.
“I may or may not survive,” laughed Shea, who was indeed later observed finishing the race.
Running for a friend
A group of runners who regularly participate in the Tely 10 took on a different look this year in honour of a friend who could not be there.
Bill Aylward, running his 19th Tely 10, and Gerard Gamberg were among dozens of people wearing shirts that said “Kelda This Run’s For You.” Kelda Farrell was injured earlier this year in a serious car accident. Aylward said she remains in hospital.
“We’ll run in her honour,” he said. Farrell is a member of the Nautilus Running Club.
The weather proved great for Sunday’s race, with clear skies and a slight breeze that perhaps eased the burden for some racers. There were long line ups for the portable washrooms prior to the sound of the starter’s pistol fired by Paradise Mayor Ralph Wiseman.
Runners passed many cheering supporters along Topsail Road, with some holding signs offering words of encouragement — one clever sign held by a woman in Paradise read, “Go Random Stranger Go!”
At the finish line, runners arrived with a variety of facial expressions. Some showed signs of relief, while others appeared to be exhausted. One woman loudly asked what seemed like a question of obvious importance following two hours of running.
“OK, where’s the bathroom?”
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