He knows the course like the back of his hand, having run a dozen Tely 10 races. And he understands what it takes to win, obviously, having finished first seven times, a feat that ties him with Cliff Stones and George Hillier for second amongst all-time winners of the old race.
But Sunday’s 87th running of The Telegram 10-Mile Road Race — a.k.a. the Tely 10 — could be somewhat foreign for Colin Fewer, who, up until 2012, owned the race, with seven straight victories.
That’s because Fewer is coming off hip surgery, which sidelined him for last year’s Tely, and most of the 2014 road racing season.
Fewer went under the knife in early June, 2013, and didn’t go for his first run — save for work on the elliptical trainer at the gym — until Oct. 18.
“It’s funny,” Fewer was saying Thursday, “after all these years running the race, this could be something new.
“It’s an uncharted territory, and I haven’t sailed the ship down there before.
“I expect the nerves will be there, but I also expect a certain amount of excitement to get out there.”
Fewer was not even sure he was entering this year’s Tely 10 — set to start 8 o’clock Sunday morning in Paradise — until he put in a couple of fine performances in a pair of races this season, his first two starts since the surgery.
He won the HTG Sports 5K race during Ottawa’s Race Weekend in late May, and earlier this month, finished first in the Molson Canadian 67 Mews 8K race in St. John’s.
Fewer finished the latter in 23:49, while the second-place finisher. Tely 10 contender John Angelopoulos, was second in 25:50.
“To be honest, if you had asked me eight or 10 weeks ago if I’d be running Sunday, I probably would have said no,” Fewer said.
“The Ottawa result was a complete surprise. I’d only had three little workouts before that, although I had been working pretty hard on the elliptical.
“And the Mews result (a personal best) really opened my eyes. Things have really come together for me.”
Of course, Sunday’s race will hardly be a walk in the park.
Anything but, actually.
Fewer will have to contend with reigning champ Dan McNeil, a 6-5 Cape Bretoner who won the 2013 race in 51:11, two minutes faster than his nearest rival, Angelopoulos.
It was the 32nd-fastest time in race history.
David Freake, picked by some to win last year’s race, returns with three road race wins this season, along with Angelopoulos. Brent Addison of Halifax, who was third last year, is also registered to run.
One person who won’t be at the start line Sunday morning is Matt Loiselle of Windsor, Ont.
Loiselle, who is training for a spot on Canada’s marathon team for the 2016 Rio de Janiero Olympics, won the 2012 Tely 10 in 48:09, the third fastest time in race history.
Only Paul McCloy’s race record of 47:04 and 47:55 are quicker times.
Loiselle said in a text message this week he was intending to run the Tely, but a recent calf muscle injury scuttled those plans.
McNeil ran the Ottawa Marathon in May, finishing 13th overall.
“That was a good, solid performance,” Fewer said of McNeil’s time
“You have to look at him as a contender (to repeat), no doubt about that.”
See FEELS READY, page C2
Fewer hasn’t raced a lot this season, but feels he is ready for Sunday, given the number of training runs and the hours in the gym he’s punched in.
At 37, Fewer is on the back stretch of his running career, although don’t dare suggest age is working him these days.
Running, in fact, is one of the few sports in which the older you get, the better you can get.
“I’m not using age as an excuse,” he said. “I’m always trying to prove myself, and prove to people you can perform at a high level in your late 30s and 40s.
“There has been some research that shows with 10 years of good, solid uninterrupted training, you can have running success into your 30s and 40s. But you need the training. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
On Sunday, Fewer hopes something old will be new again with an eight Tely 10 crown, putting him in sole possession of second place on the all-time list.