Wins seventh straight Tely 10 crown, is two short of Pat Kelly's record
This may be the only way to cool off Colin Fewer, who raises his arms in the rain Sunday at Bannerman Park after winning the Telegram 10-Mile Road Race for a seventh straight time. Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram
Colin Fewer rounded the turn on to Bannerman Rd., just a short dash from the Colonial Bldg., Sunday morning to cheers from a healthy, if not dedicated, gathering of Tely 10 faithful lining the stretch to the finish line.
All that was missing was the CLB Band pounding out, 'Up the Banks.'
For as much as Fewer sloshed his way to another win, you probably could have brought a Regatta shell home on the watery Tely 10 course, thanks to a pounding rain that greeted Fewer and the other 3,045 runners and walkers.
"It hit at about Mile 9, when the heavens opened up," said Fewer.
"What a soaking. But it was refreshing, actually, although I'm glad I wasn't racing somebody down to the finish line.
"The day overall was probably the best I've ever felt for this race, in terms of the heat on the body in previous years. It was refreshing."
The win, in 51:19, was Fewer's seventh straight, giving him another piece of Tely 10 history. He joins Cliff Stone and George Hillier as winners of seven straight Tely 10 titles. Up next is the record-holder Pat Kelly, who won nine straight from 1933-1947 (there were no races for five years during the Second World War).
While it was a glorious day for most runners - the temperature for the start was a touch over nine degrees, and it didn't get much warmer - winds registering 24 clicks were far more problematic. That they were from the southeast meant runners faced gusts blowing in the face for much of the race.
"The wind was pretty tough," said Fewer, whose finish time of 51:19 fails to put him in the list of the top 25 times, a list that has his name listed three times.
"The first five miles were really going into the wind. I think this is the first time I've ever had a negative split the Tely 10, that my second five miles were faster than my first five miles.
"I was probably about 30-40 seconds quicker, and I don't know if I've ever done that before."
Graydon Snider, a PhD student from Montreal, was second, finishing in 52:27, with Marystown's Grant Handrigan placing third in 53:14. Rounding out the top five were a pair of St. John's natives, Michael King in 54:38 and Peter Power in 55:05.
Fewer was among a group of runners through the first mile, but quickly sped away and wound up traversing St. John's streets solo.
"I was in striking distance, only if he slowed down," said Snider, who ran his first Tely 10 in 2007 while visiting St. John's with his fiance, Heather Reckling, a native of the capital city.
"I was about 400 metres behind him most of the way. He slowly got away from me, and it was too big a gap to close."
Fewer has made no bones about his desire to get his time beneath 50 minutes. Last year, he ran 49:48 and hoped to lower that Sunday.
It was not to be.
"I always use the analogy that this not like other sports, where you get another shift, or another turn at bat," he said. "You don't get a minute on the bench to think about what you're going to do the next time out there. You have to adapt on the fly during the race. You've got 364 days to think about it if it doesn't work out.
"I'd be the first to say over the last few years I've been gunning for sub-50. I think any number of these three or four years I could have been under that but different weather conditions always sort of bumped me back to the other side of it.
"So it's disappointing to not go under 50, but it sort of motivates you the next time you come out to go after it again."
Still, from a 'glass half full' point of view, there was plenty to celebrate as Fewer joined Stone and Hillier.
"And to finish first," he said. "It feels amazing, actually. You never get sick coming down Bannerman Road in first place, people lining the course cheering. It's amazing, and they really carry you along. It's a very nice feeling, a very positive feeling that excites you and makes you feel alive.