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Two-time defending champion looks to become only third runner to win three straight female titles in the race
She owns two of the quickest times ever recorded by a female on the 10-mile course that makes up the Tely 10, and now Jennifer Murrin hopes to further cement her name in race history with a third straight win Sunday.
Murrin, a 28-year-old St. John’s native, can join a very select list with a first-place finish Sunday on Bannerman Street. In the 91-year history of the Tely, only two female runners have won three or more consecutive titles — Colleen Martin (1976-79) and Lisa Harvey (2006-09), who each won four in a row.
“It’s not something that’s on my mind every day, but certainly it would be nice to get a third championship, and a better time.”
Of 10 fastest time recorded in the Tely 10, Murrin owns two of them — 56 minutes and 58 seconds last year (fifth overall) and 57:14 (ninth) in 2017.
Only Kate (Vaughan) Bazeley and Nicola Will have recorded faster times than Murrin.
Last year’s clocking came on a “brutally” humid day, which gives Murrin optimism for faster times.
And considering she only started competitive running five years ago, there’s plenty of room for improvement.
“I think I’m a better runner now than even in 2017,” said.
Part of the reason rests with the fact she’s running under the tutelage of coach Steve Boyd of Kingston, Ont., the same coach perennial men’s champ Colin Fewer employs.
“It’s not something that’s on my mind every day, but certainly it would be nice to get a third championship, and a better time.” — Jennifer Murrin
“He’s given me direction more than anything,” Murrin said of Boyd. “I’m a fairly new runner when you look at the other individuals out running. I started in 2014 and just kind of did my own thing with no real direction.
“We chat every week and he gives me my plan for the week. I do like the direction. That’s helped me.”
The two will chat every Monday, with Boyd mapping out a plan that often includes easy runs, a few workouts and long runs.
“I’m constantly learning, and learning a lot about myself,” she said. “You take that from race to race, what you did good and what was maybe not so good.”
After a slow start to the year — she took time off over Christmas and into the New Year to rest a barking calf muscle — Murrin has cranked it up to record a bunch of fine showings on the road.
And there was none more impressive than her result at the Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend 10K championship in May, where she ran 34:45. The result was seventh-best amongst Canadians, and 16th overall amongst female entrants.
Murrin's time was the 72nd fastest in the entire field, which saw 6,978 finishers.
Locally, she won the Nautilus Mundy Pond 5K, Nautilus Harbourfront 10K and Uniformed Services Half-Marathon (where she was also fourth overall).
The women’s race is again expected to be a battle between favourites Murrin, Bazeley and Anne Johnston.
Johnston made news in April with an outstanding performance in the 123rd running of the Boston Marathon. She was the 37th female across the finish line, and the top Canadian resident, in a time of two hours, 43 minutes and .02 seconds.
Incredibly, Johnston was the 515th overall finisher in the world's most famous marathon.
Not to be outdone, Bazeley ran a time of two hours, 39 minutes and 55 seconds to break her own provincial marathon record at the Houston Marathon in Texas in January.
She finished 17th in a large and strong field of female runners.
Bazeley has won two local road races, the VOCM 740 Toyota Plaza 10K on the Burin Peninsula in June, and the Mews Centre 8K just over a week ago.
Johnston was second in the Mews, and Murrin was third.
“It’s very tight,” Murrin said. “Really, it’s anybody’s race.”
Which might have Murrin thinking about some kind of race strategy, which is new to her. Normally, Murrin is the type to wing it — show up at the start line, and let it rip.
“Going into this race with the competition I’ll be facing,” she said, “I think I’ll need to have a Plan A and Plan B type of thing.”