Local runners take notice: If The Telegram 10-Mile Road Race — the Tely 10 — continues to grow by leaps and bounds in popularity, expect to see more mainland ringers like Matt Loiselle stepping to the start line in Paradise in years to come.
The 85th edition of the Tely 10 Sunday saw Loiselle of Windsor, Ont., and Calgary’s Lisa Harvey run away with the male and female championships.
Loiselle, who is vying for a spot on Canada’s marathon team for next summer’s world track and field championship in Moscow and the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, clocked the third-fastest time ever in the Tely with a 48:09 showing.
Harvey won her sixth Tely 10 crown, stopping the clock in 58:58, and was the 24th overall finisher.
Sunday’s race saw the biggest jump in entries ever as 3,581 made their way to the start line. Last year, 3,045 runners and walkers registered for the Tely 10.
Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Association technical director George Stanoev admits the track and field body hopes to take the race — the largest of its kind in the province and one of the bigger races in Atlantic Canada — to another level.
And part of that plan would include making it more attractive to the competitive runners, who far outnumber the casual or recreation runners.
To get top mainland athletes like Loiselle to St. John’s, the organizing committee would have to offer an enticement.
In track and field and other athletic circles, that means appearance fees.
“We would need to provide some assistance (to the athletes) travelling to the events,” he said.
“As the event grows, we are working with regards to the elite component of the event. No commitments yet, but down the road we might consider providing some financial support.”
That support, he said, would come from sponsorship money.
“And we might consider increasing the prize money structure,” said Stanoev.
The men and women who won Sunday split $3,000 in winnings, $750 to the two winners, $500 to the second-place finishers and $250 to the third-place runners. That does not include gift cards from The Running Room.
Commemorative pins were presented to a number of athletes who have ran the Tely 10 on a number of occasions.
Joe Ryan, who penned a book on the old race, has completed the event an amazing 40 times. Thirty-year pins were given to Frank Connors, Mike Kavanagh, Pat Murphy and Fred Wight. Twenty-five-year pins were given to Jim Barnes, Gerry Penney, Barry Ploughman and Pat Royle.
Wight, now 77, ran his first Tely 10 when he was 46. That was long after he played basketball, a sport for which he was known in the city back in the 1950s and 60s.
“I just take my time now,” he said. “I suppose I try to run as hard as I can, but I don’t want to fall down.”
Wight runs three to four times a week, mostly with Joe Delurey, who was a fixture on the race circuit years ago, but now runs for the enjoyment.
“We go every second morning,” said Wight, “for a jog around the trails.”
Murdock Hiscock from the Grand Bank Running Club was the worthy recipient of this year’s Dr. John Williams Award.
The award goes to the participant who has inspired others through enthusiastic and spirited participation in the race.
An active runner for over 20 years, Hiscock was co-founder of the club in 2011.
In 2010, Murdock and his wife lost their daughter, Juliette, in a motorcycle accident while she was travelling in the United States. She had been training with her father to run the Tely 10 that year.
Last July, Hiscock was back and ran the Tely with his daughter, Tina, who travelled from Ontario. Both wore t-shirts proclaiming they were “Running for Juliette.”
Last October, Hiscock suffered a heart attack while running the ‘Cape to Cabot’ race in St. John’s.
Undaunted, he was back cheering on his club members in late October while they held a ‘Halloween Fun Run’.
Since then, he hasn't looked back.