Special to The Telegram
This year’s Tely 10 could be an interesting and exciting duel between two of Nova Scotia’s best distance runners, and our local running stars.
Reigning Tely champ Daniel McNeil and last year’s third-place finisher, Brent Addison — both Nova Scotians — will battle Colin Fewer, John Angelopoulos, Peter Power, David Freake and Adam Snow for the Tely title Sunday.
For a while, it looked as if 2012 Tely champ, Ontario’s Matt Loiselle, would also make an appearance, but he’s a late scratch because of a leg injury. It’s good to see mainland Canadian athletes come for the Tely, as it adds to the competition and gives the race a national profile.
However, when all is said and done, I see Newfoundland’s Colin Fewer emerging as the 2014 Tely winner.
After a year off, following surgery on an injured groin and hip, he is back in good racing shape. A big win at the Ottawa five-kilometre race in May was a real confidence booster, and his 23:49 victory at the Mews 8K race indicates, if the weather co-operates, a 50-minute Tely or better.
That should be good enough to give Fewer his eighth Tely championship, one more than the legendary George Hillier, one short of Pat Kelly’s record nine wins.
McNeil will certainly push Fewer on Sunday. In April, he ran 30:38 at the Yonge Street 10K race in Toronto and in May, ran 2:24 for 13th place in a deep field at the Ottawa Marathon.
In 2013, the guy with the interesting haircut had a stint training in Kenya with Canadian Olympian Eric Gillis. The 2013 Tely champ ran 51:11 to win last year, but if he hopes to catch Fewer, he will have to run faster than that.
I see him as the runner-up.
Freake has won all the local races he’s entered in 2014, and has been a dominating figure on the road race circuit for the past several years. He passed up the Mews 8K to focus on the Tely, but ran 15:05 to win the Clarenville 5K race last week. This shows Freake may be able to run the 51-minute Tely he has as his goal. It certainly would give him a solid third, and a personal best on the course.
The tall, lean, intense, Angelopoulos was runner-up at last year’s Tely, and second to Fewer at this year’s Mews 8K. He is an infrequent racer, but a hard trainer and always primed for the big ones. I choose Angelopoulos for fourth place.
Addison, third last year at the Tely, is one of the tough guys of Nova Scotian running. I watched him take the lead last fall at the St. FX University cross-country race in Antigonish and hold it for several laps. He didn’t win, but boy, did he teach the young college guys a lesson in front-running courage. He will be fifth.
Power, at 51, is one of Canada’s best runners in his age group and ranks well up in the world standings for the over 50 crowd. At the recent Mews 8K race, he was third behind Fewer and Angelopoulos in an astounding 25:59. Last year, he demolished my long-standing Tely record for 50 years and over. He could break his own age-group record this year. I think he will be sixth.
Frequently, a winner at the 5K distance, Snow has improved his 10K performances. The former Memorial University cross-country captain was second to Freake at the Garnish race in June, and one place behind Power at the Mews. I see Snow finishing seventh.
Lee Churchill and Peter Bazeley will make the top 10. Both are experienced and successful road racers. Churchill outsprinted Bazeley by one second at the recent BMO Downtown Dash in Corner Brook. The two will have a rematch in the Tely, but I think it will be Bazeley one place ahead of Churchill this time around.
Bazeley eighth, Churchill ninth.
My top 10 picks will be rounded out by Ian Royle, who is the Newfoundland marathon champion, and who won this year’s United Service Half Marathon. He was a top 10 finisher in the Tely in 2013. Royle likes the long ones and excels at them. He should finish 10th.
Trevor O’Brien won three Tely 10s over a decade ago, and was a Memorial University cross-country running star. He is back from British Columbia for a visit. He took a break from running for a time, but he’s come back to the sport. Recently, he’s been training hard again.
I ran an easy 25-minute run with O’Brien Wednesday evening, and the long, fluid stride I remember from years ago was still there. He is the wild card the fast guys better keep an eye on this weekend. He could seriously shake up my predictions.
Other experienced and successful running names demand consideration in this deep and strong field.
Mark Hayward, winner of the recent Bay Roberts 10K race, Joe Dunford, a former marathon champ, Tom Martin, Will Fitzgerald, Jason White, Ed Durnford, Don Fagan and Mike Scott will all contend for a top 10 position.
In January, Kate Vaughan Bazeley began 2014 with a flourish by running a 2:40 marathon in Houston, Tex., vaulting her into the ranks of Canada’s best female marathoners.
Canadian Running Magazine was so impressed it did a feature on her in its most recent edition.
She followed this performance with a win in the BMO Half Marathon in Vancouver, outlegging American Alison Macsas by three seconds. June took her back to Vancouver for the Scotiabank Half Marathon where she finished second to Canadian Olympic marathoner Lanni Marchant, solidifying her status as one of Canada’s best female long distance runners.
Bazeley already has two Tely wins to her credit, and she should make it three on Sunday. I think she may have a very good shot at breaking Nicola Will’s legendary record of 55:47 set in 1986.
I am choosing Julia (Howard) Kawamoto for second place.
For years, the Simon Fraser graduate’s reputation rested on her prowess as a national-calibre middle distance track runner. Since moving back home several years ago, she has focused on road racing, re-established a connection with her former coach — NLAA Hall of Famer Ray Will — and has chalked up a series of local victories, including an impressive and fast win at the recent Mews 8K race.
If she runs cautiously in the early stages of the race, she will dip under the 60-minute mark and join the small, but elite, group of women who have accomplished that feat.
British-born Caroline McIlroy has made Newfoundland her home for many years. She has been a running phenomenon on the local and national running scene during that time. A former Tely champ, McIlroy has won at every distance, from 800 meters to the marathon. She has been a cross-country running star at Memorial University, and recently has taken up ultra-marathoning.
Early this month, she won the 100-mile Sinister 7 Ultra in Alberta. In her early 40s, McIlroy may not have the speed she possessed in the past, but she has the courage, strength and endurance to capture third place on Sunday.
My choice for fourth is Krissy Dooling. A former cross-country runner at Saint Francis Xavier University and the University of Alberta, she has become a very successful road racer. She has three wins this year in the local road race series, and although she had a sub-par performance at the Mews 8K, I think she will bounce back with a top five finish in the Tely.
Janelle Simmons, who has had a long successful road racing career, will be fifth. Four second-place finishes this season, usually behind Dooling, indicates she’s ready for an impressive Tely. Dooling better be prepared for a late surge from the hard-running Simmons.
Over the past several years, Jennifer Barron has continued to improve. She has three third-place performances this year, including a fine effort at the popular Tely tune-up, the Mews 8K race. Barron should be sixth.
Sherri Meyers, an accomplished triathlete, has not run a local road race this season. However, her out-of-province triathlon performances show she is in very good form. She usually has a good Tely, using her triathlon training to her advantage. I’m picking her for seventh.
Jennifer Murrin should crack the top 10 and finish eighth. She is not a frequent racer, but impressed me with her fourth-place finish, just four seconds behind Barron, at the Mews 8K.
Veteran Susan Martyn had a superb Mews race with a sixth-place finish and a quick time. After overcoming some running aches and pains last year, she is the strongest she has been for some time. I think she will be ninth.
Sherri Lynn Reid has been a steady, dependable performer the past few years, with an occasional win and lots of high placings in the results. She has a good chance for that coveted 10 spot, and I think she’ll get it.
Alison Walsh has kept a low profile recently, but is entered in Sunday’s race. At times, Walsh has been one of our best road racers, often winning at the longer distances. She usually comes ready to race and I won’t be surprised if she makes a late effort that takes her well past some of my picks into a position high up in the standings.
Keep an eye out for the following women to be in the chase for a top 10 placing: Andrea Morrissey, Michelle Young, Janet Quick, Laura Lawes, Melanie Hynes, Shelia Collins, Joanne Taylor, Rebecca O’Leary, Karen Penwell, Alison Jones, Rebecca Rudofsky and Chelsea Marko.
Art Meaney, a 1979 Tely 10 Champ and NLAA Hall of Famer, will be joined by his sons Jim, Paul and Richard, along with his daughter in law, Megan, in Sunday’s race.
Note: For a complete listing of all entries in Sunday’s 87th running of The Telegram 10-Mile Road Race, please log on to www.thetelegram.com