Heat, humidity a running issue for the Tely 10

Kenn Oliver
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Organizing committee making changes, will make more, but participants also urged to better train and prepare

As Art Meaney approached the six-mile marker in Sunday’s 87th Tely 10 Mile Road Race, he began feeling dizzy and nauseous.
The veteran of 32 Tely 10s and the 1979 champ knew he probably shouldn’t continue in the heat and humidity that dawned on the 3,700-plus participants that started the race.
“I thought, ‘If I keep going, I’m probably going to end up in hospital,’” says Meaney, who suffered a cardiac episode while leading a running clinic in June of 2011. “I did promise my wife... if in a race things weren’t going well physically, that I would not take risks.”
Had he not, Meaney could very well have ended up like the two dozen or so people who required medical attention in temperatures that rose to the mid-20s by 9 a.m., with humidity that made it feel closer to 30.

In this July 22, 2012 file photo, Art Meaney crosses the Tely 10 finish line on Bannerman Road in St. John’s. Meaney is a former Tely 10 champion with numerous age-group records in the race, but even he was affected by the heat and humidity during Sunday’s running of the Tely 10, and he decided to drop out rather than continue.
— Telegram file photo/Gary Hebbard

Or worse, he could have ended up like Mark Didham, who as of Tuesday night was still in a medically induced coma after collapsing just shy of the finish line on Bannerman Road.

Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Association (NLAA) executive director George Stanoev says with the high temperatures and stifling humidity experienced in the metro region this month, the organizing committee was very active in promoting safe racing practices in the media and across social media platforms in the week leading up to the race.

Moreover, organizers increased water supplies to 1,000 litres at each of the four stations and added Gatorade to the fourth station, where in years past it was only available at the second and third.

“We have the water, they need to drink it,” Stanoev says. “Some people are going through the water station thinking they have their own supplies and they’ll survive. It’s a combination of factors that contribute to the problems.”

When it comes down to it, it’s the participants responsibility to ensure they’ve fully prepared themselves for the race, physically and mentally.

“People have to exercise judgement,” Stanoev explains.

“Once you get into running and pushing yourself and wanting to achieve your very best, you somewhat forget about the consequences. Lack of experience does contribute to that — that’s not reflected at all on Mark Didham — but Art Meaney is a good example of what to do, how to pace yourself and judge it.”

As the event has grown, Stanoev says more and more people are inclined to join family, friends and co-workers in completing the race.

“It should be more based on training and readiness to participate in the event. There are many other road races throughout the province leading up to the Tely 10 and people should use those races to train and prepare for the Tely,” insists Stanoev, who adds that registration numbers for local 8- and 10-kilometre road races leading up to the Tely 10 would indicate it’s not happening.

The Molson Canadian 67 Mews Memorial 8km Road Race on July 13, for example, attracted just 325 participants, while the Uniformed Services 10km Road Race had just 65 people.

“We welcome everybody, but we want to see people training, putting in the appropriate time starting early in the year,” says Stanoev. “There are many programs and groups offering training programs and we encourage folks to learn, because it’s not just physical conditioning, but it teaches you how to approach a race and how to prepare for inclement weather, be it hot or cold.”

Meaney, who runs such programs at the Running Room, says the same is true for those who are walking the course.

“You need to get out walking on a regular basis months before the Tely so that your cardiovascular fitness moves to the level where you can go that distance without a major problem.”

 

Changes — and possible changes — for 2015

As the Tely 10 continues to attract people — a record 4,181 people registered for this year’s race — organizers are continually adapting the event to meet their needs and expectations.

For example, Stanoev says there’s a good possibility organizers will add a fifth, and possibly sixth, water station to the course next year.

There will also be some discussion centred around changing either the start time of the race, or possibly the date. But even then, it’s a roll of the dice.

In Meaney’s first Tely 10 in 1977, the race took place on a cool Wednesday evening in May. The following year, it was held beginning midday on a Sunday in June, “one of those strange, rare June days where it was actually very, very hot.

“Dave McGivern, the guy who finished second, ended up in the hospital being rehydrated,” recounts Meaney, who finished fourth that year. “That day, in a field much smaller than today, but a field of very experienced and fast runners, only five guys finished under 60 minutes.”

koliver@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @telykenn

This story has been edited to correct information

Organizations: Bannerman Road.Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Association, NLAA, Gatorade Molson Uniformed Services 10km Road Race

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Recent comments

  • Floruns
    July 30, 2014 - 19:24

    Having run this race, and more than 10 previous Tely 10s as well as other road races here, and elsewhere, I would just like to say that that the 2014 Tely 10 was well organized and supplied as far as I saw. I was running with a lot of others in the mid-pack,and I experienced a great bus ride to the start system, a well marshalled course, and plenty of water and Gatorade at the stations. I was impressed, because in the past, at other races, I have arrived at dry water stations, and this can be a real health threatening disaster for a middle of the pack runner in a long race on a hot day. We depend on the organizers to plan for higher than normal demand, and thankfully, they did. Heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers. Certainly, there is always room to consider earlier start times and earlier dates. I'm confident this will be considered for coming years. I wish all the runners who experienced problems well, and a speedy recovery to the man who remains in hospital.

  • William Barrett
    July 30, 2014 - 14:53

    Disgustingly insensitive journalism from The Telegram. A man is in the hospital fighting for his life - which, by the way, this publication did not even bother covering - and you decide to drag his name into this conversation without having any facts or even asking any questions. Mark Didham was much better prepared and equipped to run this race than the average runner. He runs daily, has a strict diet and training regiment, is a member of a running group and has run races all over the Avalon. He was not ill-prepared to run this race and to even insinuate that lack of preparation or knowledge of running was at play in his case is appalling, quite frankly. Using him as an example to lead into this story is both insensitive and insulting to him and Kenn Oliver should be ashamed of himself that Mark's name was ever printed here. The bottom line here is that the timing of The Tely just no longer makes sense with our changing climate. There's no doubt this July has been hotter than normal but the bottom line is that this trend has been developing for several years and the organizers need to take this into account - whether it be moving the race up a month or back a couple of months or even just starting earlier in the morning.

    • Betty
      July 30, 2014 - 23:37

      I am far from impressed with this article. It is one-sided & very biased. It is as though they are only concerned with protecting the integrity of the NLAA committee & not the runners. If you are going to use a name for comparison sake then at the very least they could have tried to get their facts straight. Although Mark Didham is unable to speak for himself I'm certain his family would have shared the true story with them but unfortunately they were not contacted. Mr. Oliver, I am not impressed with your journalistic skills & I'm sure there are many people out there who feel the same. I'm not familiar with your education levels but I'm sure growing up you were often told that there are 2 sides to every story. Before you implied that Mark wasn't prepared to run this race you should have made some enquiries

  • Ann
    July 30, 2014 - 14:42

    First of all I am a very good friend of Mr. Didham and way to show respect of his family and especially his wife. How incinsiderate to even mention him especially after all the positive thoughts and well wishes. As well, he was a well prepared runner for the past 4 years, nor was it it his first run. I dont think this was necessary at all or wpuld h elp any positive thoughts and prayers that the family need. Way to go telegram.

  • Anon
    July 30, 2014 - 11:52

    Saying people to do more races is simply a means for the NLAA to rake in more funds. There are runners who train all year round and compete in multiple races who still need medical attention after racing in 20C+ temperatures. Starting the race earlier is a safer bet than moving the date.

    • Anon
      August 01, 2014 - 09:02

      First, the NLAA doesn't rake in money from the local races. The organizing running club does. Second, Mark is an experienced runner who, very unfortunately, became overwhelmed with the heat/humidity. I pray he recovers and soon. Third, there is a lot to be said about getting out and training in the heat, adjust your pace during an obviously hot day, take in all the fluids you can, and be smart. I'm a very experienced runner, ran the race really hard. Felt no apparent ill-effects from the heat as I trained in it hard leading up to the Tely. But as the day went on, I soon realized that I had heat stroke and was dehydrated, even though I was drinking water, I wasn't having to go to the bathroom. So be smart, know your limits and train for the conditions...remember that finishing isn't always that important

  • J
    July 30, 2014 - 11:36

    So, from reading the article and the comments the only conclusion I can draw is that people are racing in racing for which they are not capable of finishing. How else to explain everyone else that finished. Even seniors! Maybe they should hold it in January for the whiners or cut it back to 5 miles.

    • Elizabeth
      July 30, 2014 - 22:52

      You should have your facts straight before you make such uninformed & negative comments. There were many trained runners who were unable to complete this race & I can assure you none of them were whiners.

  • Responsibility
    July 30, 2014 - 10:22

    I too found this article insensitive and irresponsible on The Telegram's part. First off, I noticed on Monday and Tuesday, of the major local news venues The Telegram seemed to be the only one that did not have a story on the poor man in the induced coma after the race. You are a news source, not just the major sponsor of this race. Secondly, they seem to be putting all the blame on the runners. Yes, they are responsible for their own health, and what Art Meaney did was a sensible thing to do, but some responsibility also has to lay in the organizers of the run. I'm glad to hear they are considering changes such as an earlier start time and more water stations, more first aid certainly would not go astray, and like one person mentioned, first aid volunteers on bikes throughout the race would be a good idea. I just found the tone of this article to be very pointing fingers to ensure The Telegram and race organizers don't get looked at badly.

  • Concerned
    July 30, 2014 - 08:59

    I'm sure it was not the intention but to me this article seems a little insensitive. I trained hard for the Tely and almost became a victim of the heat in the last 2 miles. The problem in my opinion was our extreme changes in temperature. You start training in April and May when the weather is cool, this year the month of June and the first week of July was cool. Then all of a sudden the temperatures rise from the high teens to the mid and high 20's. I tried to do all my training in the warmest part of the day, I drank water at all stations during the race, and I still almost collapsed at the finish line. My biggest concern however is with how things were handled once you made in into the field. There was no first aid available inside. After 30 minted of being inside the field I could still barely stand, I went around looking for first aid. I talked to a few of the event staff and they were only interested in making sure I did not go back out onto the finish line. I asked one where I could find first aid, he pointed and told me "Go that way!". well "that way" took me up the fence on the other side of the finish line, there was no first aid, I asked another guy who had a 2-way radio with him and he turned and walked away from me. At that point I made it to the shade of the trees and stayed there until I felt better. I know of one at least one other person who needed attention after making it inside the field. Maybe next year they should put a first aid tent inside the field, other than that I believe the Tely was a very well organized event. Nobody could predict the conditions, it's easy for people to blame the runners for not preparing, but the organizers themselves fell a little short as well when it comes to first aid availability and staff/volunteer training. Hopefully this is all a learning experience that leads to an even better event next year.

    • Michael Harvey
      July 30, 2014 - 13:47

      It was certainly the case that first aid was very hard to come by in the baseball field where it was very much needed. I went looking for help for a woman who sprained her ankle and it took me quite some time to find someone, and even then I had to shout at them through a fence. Under the circumstances, first aid staff should have been patrolling the field to identify people in trouble as there certainly were lots of them. The race should be delayed until late August and should start at 7am.

  • Krista S
    July 30, 2014 - 07:50

    I watched the race just east of the Basicillica and I'm not sure i will ever get over what I witnessed. People were passing out, and others on the verge of passing out. They should have been pulled off the course long before reaching that point. I think a major thing to change would be more first aiders!! My friends and I administered first aid to 2 individuals. We gave them water and Gatorade and cooled them with ice and held their feet up to ensure they didn't pass out. For the first guy, I ran to 2 marshals and they almost panicked because they didn’t have first aid, they placed a call and we waited almost 5 minutes for paramedics. For the second person down the ambulance arrived with 1 paramedic and we had to lift her on the stretcher. I think the numbers are too high for the race. Next year I think you need to have all marshals trained in first aid, have first aiders patrolling the course on bikes, especially the last mile, and pull people off the course if they are in trouble!

  • Lori G
    July 30, 2014 - 06:58

    '.... as of Wednesday night was still in a medically induced coma...'?? Telegram time travel?