Colin Fewer, winner of the 2008 running of the 81st annual Telegram 10-Mile Road Race, the Tely 10, gets set to cross the finish line at Bannerman Park on Sunday morning with a winning time of 52:49 to capture his fourth consecutive Tely 10 victory. -Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram
Colin Fewer was the easy winner of Sunday's 81st running of the Tely 10, his fourth straight title, but there was no masking a tinge of disappointment in the veteran runner's voice when talking about his time.
Fewer finished in 52:49, almost a minute and a half ahead of runner-up Adam Stacey of Moncton, N.B. But the time was a long ways off his 50:11 clocked last year, and further away from the sub-50 minutes Fewer had hoped to clock.
While he wasn't making excuses, the affable Harbour Main native cited weather conditions, and an achy right foot, for playing a part in a showing that wasn't among the top 25 all-time Tely 10 times.
Heavy rain prior to the start of the race, coupled with 20-plus degree temperatures, made for a very muggy day which made it difficult for the 2,049 runners and walkers who finished the race.
And Fewer finished the 10 miles on a sore right foot, the result of a bout with plantar fasciitis, inflammation of the long, flat ligament along his sole.
"My goal this year was to break 50 minutes," he said, "but, again, you need good weather conditions and you need to be 100 per cent. I had neither today.
"I could feel the foot with each stride, but it never got any worse. I knew before going into the race I could deal with it.
"I still ran well and ran smart today."
Time, Fewer said, is not everything, but like the elite rowers on Quidi Vidi Lake who keep coming back to the Royal St. John's Regatta for a crack at the magical nine-minute mark, it is always the motivating factor.
"The wins are very, very special and important," he said, "but I want to do a lot more with this. I've got a few more years.
"I think I've progressed pretty good over the last number of years and if I can keep that progression like I feel I can, I think sub-49 minutes is not out of reach."
Fewer led from the start of the race on McNamara Drive in Paradise. With a race plan mapped out prior to the crack of the starter's pistol, Fewer nailed his split in the first mile and kept the pace out Topsail Rd., and on to Cornwall Ave and LeMarchant Rd. before finishing in front of the Bannerman Park swimming pool.
"Whether it's the first mile or the 10th, I stick to my plan," he said. "I'm not going to let anybody else dictate my race. I'm going to run my race and if somebody is with me at that point, the race is on, I guess."
For much of the 10 miles, Fewer was running by himself, with little more than a race against the clock. It's during those points in races, he said, he uses a little mental imagery, envisioning a crowd of runners on his heels.
"When you're racing with people, you're time is going to lower," he said. "It's the human element.
"When there's nobody close," he added with a chuckle, "you have the ghosts chasing you.
"It's 10 miles, but you can never let your guard down. These guys can get you pretty quick."
Fewer recently turned 31 and believes he has several good years left in the legs. Though he's been running since high school, he's only been training seriously the past four or five years and it's showing in his results.
On weeks there are races planned, Fewer will clock anywhere from 50-60 miles. Otherwise, running 100-plus miles is not out of the question.
"It's a lot of work," he said in classic understatement. "Lots of times there are two runs a day, and you're watching your diet, trying to get good sleep.
"I haven't," he said with a smile, and clutching a celebratory tin of Guinness, "had a beer in four weeks.
"But that's part of the lifestyle. There's not a greater way to live. It's nice to wake up in the morning and have a goal. Sometimes there are winter days when you've got to get out and it's minus-10 or -12, and there's freezing rain. You're out trudging the streets and people don't see that. They see the glamour like this and the stuff in the paper, but all the work goes on behind the scenes.
"And it's not just me. There's a lot of guys out there doing it."
But only one who's got four Tely 10 championships in a row ... and counting.