It proved to be the right decision, as the 26-year-old budding running star from St. John’s led all women from start to finish to win her first Tely 10 title.
And she did so in style, clocking 56 minutes and 36 seconds, the third fastest time ever recorded by a woman in the historical race.
Only Nicola Will, with her race record 55:47 in 1986, and a 56:04 showing in 1984, has been faster.
“I just wanted to run my own race, so I decided, ‘what the heck, that’s what I’m doing’” said Vaughan. “Normally, I start out pretty quick, so I went with that plan.
“I just basically ran how I felt, didn’t look at my watch once. I always do that, every kilometre, every mile, but this was different because I felt so good. I knew I was running well.
“I didn’t want to think I was running too fast and psych myself out and slow down.”
Slow Vaughan wasn’t, and neither was Lisa Harvey, the four-time reigning champ. Harvey, nursing a calf injury, finished second in 59:02.
With speculation surrounding Harvey this week, and her ‘will she, won’t she’ entry into the Tely, with a shot at a record fifth straight title, Vaughan slid under the radar.
At least to those who don’t closely follow the local road race scene.
Fact is, Vaughan has been dominant this season, with six straight wins. In one of those races, the Harbourfront 10K, she was the second overall finisher behind Colin Fewer.
And Vaughan’s time Sunday was quicker than Harvey’s in each of the Calgary resident’s five previous championships.
Vaughan finished runner-up to Harvey in each of the past two years. Her time last July was 59:03.
“I was hoping for a sub-58 minute time,” she said of Sunday’s race.
“Under 57 would be a dream. So I’m really happy with a sub-56.
“Only one other woman has run faster than that in the Tely 10 and the record which I thought would never, ever possibly be broken, well, now I’m thinking that it could be in sight in a year or two. You never know.
“It’s something to strive for.”
“I just wanted to run my own race, so I decided, ‘what the heck, that’s what I’m doing’” - said Kate Vaughan.
Karen Stacey of St. John’s placed third in 1:01.04, while Caroline McIlroy of Portugal Cove-St. Philip’s was fourth in 1:02.40. Allison Hobeika of St. John’s, who along with McIlroy is a former Tely 10 winner, finished fifth amongst women in 1:03.06.
Vaughan is enjoying a brilliant season, thanks to a regimented winter training program.
“I put in a hard winter, more miles and more workouts,” she said. “And I actually plan on improving from here. I think that running more miles and being smart about your mileage, taking easy runs and doing speed workouts, can only help.
“I think it was proven here today.”
Harvey was seeking her record fifth straight Tely title. She and Noeleen Wadden (who also ran Sunday) hold the record for five championships (Harvey won in 2003).
Her status this season was up in the air after aggravating a leg injury last week.
“I was a bit shaky at the start,” she said. “I wasn’t running the way I usually do, starting out quick, going at it aggressively. I was trying not to go so hard that I would hurt myself.
“I was really happy to run 59 minutes and still place second, because I didn’t think I was even going to be able to finish the race.”
As for Vaughan, she’s anxious to haul on the running shoes again and hit the pavement.
Will’s time, she said, provides all the impetus she needs.
“You never know,” she says with a grin, “I’ll be going for the record some day.
“Come on,” she smiles, firing a salvo over the heads of the other runners, “bring it on!”
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