Lisa Harvey not afraid to work for the win
Lisa Harvey crosses the finish line just ahead of Caroline McIlroy to win the women’s title in the 2012 Tely 10. Harvey is back in
St John’s this week to defend her title. And while McIlroy won’t be in the running Sunday, Harvey, a Calgary resident, could face a serious challenge from another mainland runner. — Telegram file photo
There’s no Caroline McIlroy. No Kate Bazeley. But that doesn’t necessarily mean six-time and current defending champ Lisa Harvey won’t be challenged Sunday in the 86th annual Tely 10-Mile Road Race.
Just like seven-time men’s winner Colin Fewer was challenged and ultimately usurped by a come-from-away runner in Ontario’s Matt Loiselle last year, Harvey’s reign on the storied course could be in jeopardy this year.
That test will come from Paris, Ont., runner Natasha Yaremczuk, a former Commonwealth and Pan American Games triathlete-turned distance runner who, it’s said, is in the running for a berth on Canada’s Olympic team in 2016.
“Wow,” Harvey said Wednesday when given a brief rundown of some of Yaremczuk’s accomplishments, which include a personal best time of 2:48:43 in this year’s Boston Marathon, making her the top Canadian female finisher, and a title defence at the Buffalo Half Marathon.
“I think it’s good. The more fast girls out there, the better. It makes for a better race.
“I’d say it will definitely make for a fast pace and a good time.”
The 43-year-old teacher from Calgary was nearly knocked her from her perch last year, finishing just two seconds ahead of McIlroy as both runners sprinted down Bannerman Road.
McIlroy is not competing this year as she’s training for the Canadian Death Race in Alberta the following weekend. The Death Race is a 125-kilometre trek that takes runners over mountain summits, rivers, Hell’s Gate canyon and features more than 17,000 feet of elevation change.
It’s not something Harvey, an Olympian at the 1992 Barcelona Games, would ever attempt.
“That’s a bit long and really slow for me.”
Bazeley, who won back-to-back titles in 2010 and 2011 after finishing second to Harvey in the two previous Tely 10s, is nursing a nagging hip injury. Last year, she bowed out at the five-mile mark, the victim of too little training after recovering from a virus that had sidelined her for two months.
“I’m sure she’ll be back next year,” Harvey says of Bazeley. “I look forward to seeing her out there again.”
Harvey has already dealt with a pretty serious challenger in the women’s masters age group in three races she’s taken part in this year. Vancouver native Catherine Watkins and Harvey have been neck-and-neck in a few races.
“It’s been tough competition,” says Harvey, who edged Watkins by 15 seconds in the Spring Run-Off Vancouver 8km, but finished second to Watkins in the Vancouver Half-Marathon two months later.
The pair also battled it out for second place at the Vancouver Sun Run, with Harvey coming in nine seconds behind.
Watkins wasn’t in the field for the Calgary Mother's Day Run 10km, Harvey’s only other win this season. It was the third straight and 10th time overall she’s won the race, an event she’s competed in since she was 18.
“That was really nice to win again because I’m 43 and there was another track girl who was really good,” she explains.
Tely 10 ‘ranks high’
Even though Harvey is a resident of Calgary, the pilgrimage to St. John’s for the Tely 10 is always an
important date on her racing calendar.
“It ranks up there pretty high,” insists Harvey, married to St. John’s native and five-time Tely 10 champ Paul McCloy.
“It’s a big race on the schedule for me, as big as those other races I do, like the national road race, the ones in the U.S., the ones in Vancouver.
“It’s definitely one I’m training and gearing up for.”
Harvey touched down in St. John’s late Tuesday night, not for the sake of sightseeing, but more to give herself time to adjust to the 3 1/2-hour time difference.
“I’ve done it before where I’ve come it late Friday night and it’s not ideal because my body isn’t awake.
“It’s nice to get adapted to the time change.”
The Tely 10 starting gun goes off Sunday morning at 8 a.m.