In 2007 at the age of 67, with seriously deteriorated knees, I decided to push myself to the limit and attempt to walk the Tely 10.
Two much younger neighbours very kindly volunteered to encourage me by signing up just to keep pace with me. It was a hard slog but I completed the race in two hours and 57 minutes, which I knew in advance would be my personal best.
By Mile 6 I was struggling, but determined to complete the course.
I placed 2,000th out of a total number of 2,020 participants. In 2013 with a new pair of knees, I placed 3,317th out of a total of 3,325 participants.
This time it took it me three hours and eight minutes.
On both occasions I did what I set out to do, which was to complete a 10-mile walk with a body that was quickly deteriorating. I considered it a great accomplishment.
My family thought I was nuts to even attempt it.
The organizers’ web page clearly stated that the finish line and race course would close 11:30 a.m.
On both occasions, hundreds of us were well within the time limit for participating in the race and crossing the finish line, but were not seriously included.
During my participation in 2007, and again in 2013, we Honourable Stragglers were not given the benefit of water or pavement beyond Mile 6.
We paid the same fee, wore the same T-shirt, followed the same rules, were well-pumped to complete the course, but were not treated with respect.
We were denied the basic necessities to complete the race without risking life and limb.
We had to dodge cars, and risk serious exhaustion for want of a drop of water.
By Mile 7 we were politely, but constantly hassled by the police to get off the road and complete the walk on sidewalks, as the roads were now open to traffic.
At the best of times sidewalks are not ideal for serious walking.
They are sloped towards the road, uneven, curbed and necessitate taking life in hand to cross at intersections.
While trying to get through the tangle of roads near the Basilica, I overheard one policeman speaking into his walkie-talkie, advising it was “all over except for a bunch of old people.”
We Honourable Stragglers want to be included in this event.
We pay the same fee as those who come first in the race.
We want the organizers to live up to their statements regarding the time the course is open.
If they are going to fold up the pavement and turn off the taps after 90 minutes, they should make it perfectly clear in their promotional material.
The Tely 10 is a wonderful event. Don’t leave us out.
An Honourable Straggler
Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s