Fewer to face greater competition this year

Robin
Robin Short
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Telegram 10-mile road race O'Brien running in Tely 10, so will a three-time CIAU athlete of the year

Racing solely against the clock, Colin Fewer hasn't been challenged in the Tely 10 since 2006.

Last year, Fewer won by a comfortable margin of a minute and 27 seconds. In 2007, the second-place finisher crossed the finish line 1:55 behind Fewer.

But hat may change this Sunday.

Fewer's opponent this weekend in the 82nd running of The Telegram 10-Mile Road Race won't merely be the clock, but a recent three-time winner of the race who, unlike Paul McCloy, remains in his prime.

Colin Fewer crosses the 2008 Tely 10 finish line with a comfortable lead. Will he be so cozy this year? - Telegram file photo by Joe Gibbons

Racing solely against the clock, Colin Fewer hasn't been challenged in the Tely 10 since 2006.

Last year, Fewer won by a comfortable margin of a minute and 27 seconds. In 2007, the second-place finisher crossed the finish line 1:55 behind Fewer.

But that may change this Sunday.

Fewer's opponent this weekend in the 82nd running of The Telegram 10-Mile Road Race won't merely be the clock, but a recent three-time winner of the race who, unlike Paul McCloy, remains in his prime.

Trevor O'Brien of Paradise is returning home from Victoria, B.C. for the race, which he won in 2000 and again in 2002 and '03.

Joining O'Brien is his Victoria training partner, Ryan McKenzie.

McKenzie is a three-time Canadian university athlete of the year, the second-place finisher in the 2009 Timex B.C. Road Running Series and someone who contended for a spot on Canada's team for the Beijing Olympics last summer.

"He's an elite runner, pretty fast," Fewer said of McKenzie. "Trevor's had some injury problems (stress fracture in his foot), but he's also a very good runner. It should be an exciting Tely for the first time in years."

The last time there was any drama at the finish line on Bannerman Road came in '06, when Fewer outsprinted McCloy to win by two seconds.

Last year's victory gives Fewer four wins in a row, putting him in some pretty exclusive company. Since the first Tely 10 way back in 1922, there have been only four runners to win four straight titles - Cliff Stone, who seven straight (1926-32); Pat Kelly, who won nine straight (1933-47, interrupted by war years); George Hillier, who reeled off seven wins in a row (1950-56); Don Coaker, who also won six straight (1962-67).

Sunday figures to be different, with at least a three-horse race (and don't discount perennial contenders Dean Alyward or Grant Handrigan, or even McCloy).

And Fewer welcomes the challenge.

"The past few years," he said, "it's only been the clock on my mind. The year I ran 50:11, I was out there on my own.

"But when there's somebody on your heels pushing you, there's less focus on the clock. And when that happens, the times will come with the effort."

Fewer considers O'Brien one of his closest friends. In fact, he said, he's long lobbied O'Brien to return home for the Tely so both can make a run at, or come close to, McCloy's record time of 47:04.

"Without a doubt, we push each other and he brings out the best in me," Fewer.

In McKenzie, there's somewhat of an unknown because the former University of Windsor varsity runner specializes primarily in races from 8K and below.

Fewer entered three local races this season, and won all of them - the Nautilus Mundy Pond 5K, Molson Canadian Light 10K and Mews Centre Timex 8K.

Away from Newfoundland, he was among the top 10 Canadians in the field at the MDS 10K in Ottawa, finishing in 31:04. In Montreal, he was 12th in a field of 1,841 at the Scotiabank 21K race.

And this despite suffering from a lingering foot injury which had hampered him since last year.

Fewer ran last year's Tely 10 with plantar fasciitis, a common ailment in the sole of the foot among athletes who do a lot of running.

And while he tried to run through the pain in the fall, Fewer shut it down in December when it was diagnosed there was a tear in the problem area.

"It's one thing when it's inflamed," he said, "but it's another when there's a tear involved."

Fewer started training again in January, but with a walking cast. It included stationary bike work and running in a swimming pool.

"I probably didn't expect to be in the shape I'm in," he said. "If somebody had told me in January I'd be at the point where I'm at now, I probably wouldn't have believed them."

Despite placing first in the Tely 10 four times, Fewer says winning never gets old. It's one of the reasons why he trains so hard in all sorts of weather, 12 months a year.

"And it's why I pay the big bucks to go away and race," he said. "It's all about getting good competition. These guys bring out the best in me and I embrace that.

"My goal has always been to go sub-50 minutes and with this field, if I accomplish that and finish third, I'd be just as happy. But of course, I'm a competitive person, too, and I always want to win."

rshort@thetelegram.com

Organizations: 2009 Timex B.C. Road Running Series, Beijing Olympics, University of Windsor

Geographic location: Victoria, Canada, Bannerman Road Newfoundland Ottawa Montreal

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  • Allison
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    GO COLIN!!

  • Kevin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    GO COLLIBABES! Wish I was gonna be there to you and Trevor duke it out! Best of luck to the both of you.

  • JP
    July 02, 2010 - 13:10

    With such a great attitude and being such a good sport, Colin Fewer won't be a loser on Sunday, even if he doesn't come in 1st place!!! Having met him once at the end of one of his winning Tely 10 runs, I've got my fingers crossed that he gets his sub 50 minutes he is hoping for, and another win if its in the cards!

  • Allison
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    GO COLIN!!

  • Kevin
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    GO COLLIBABES! Wish I was gonna be there to you and Trevor duke it out! Best of luck to the both of you.

  • JP
    July 01, 2010 - 19:46

    With such a great attitude and being such a good sport, Colin Fewer won't be a loser on Sunday, even if he doesn't come in 1st place!!! Having met him once at the end of one of his winning Tely 10 runs, I've got my fingers crossed that he gets his sub 50 minutes he is hoping for, and another win if its in the cards!