She owns four race championships, and is the current course record holder, having set a new standard two years ago at the 2016 Tely 10.
Yet Kate Bazeley regards herself as somewhat of an underdog entering tomorrow’s 91st running of The Telegram 10-Mile Road Race.
Yup, Bazeley — who has posted three of the five fastest female times ever recorded in Tely 10 history — feels she’s a dark horse in this year’s race.
“Oh my goodness, I actually think I may be coming a little bit from behind right now,” said Bazeley, back to run the Tely 10 Sunday after missing last year’s race following the birth of her third child in early July.
“The comeback has been a bit slow, and I’ve had this setback (glute injury). But I’m not counting myself out at all. I do think it’s going to be exciting to get out there and mix it up with some ladies.
“The last few times I’ve ran, I’ve sort of found myself out there alone. I don’t anticipate that this year.”
While Colin Fewer is all but assured his 11th Tely 10 men’s title, the women’s championship is up for grabs.
And it will likely come down to a battle between three women — Bazeley, defending champ Jennifer Murrin and Anne Johnston, a three-time winner who last won in 2015 and who is having a whale of a season.
However, after shattering Nicola Will’s longstanding record time of 55:47 set back in 1986 with a 55:34 showing in 2016, Bazeley has been battling injuries.
After giving birth last July, she underwent meniscus surgery in September. And while she seemed to be getting back on track, a glute injury suffered in May continues to linger.
Bazeley won the Boston Pizza Flat Out 5K, Mundy Pond 5K and Harbourfront 10K races, but has been sidelined since.
But she isn’t the only runner who’s been hampered by injuries.
Murrin, who won last year with a 57:14 showing, a healthy 2:29 ahead of her nearest opponent, Lisa Collins-Sheppard, has raced only twice this season as she battled back from a hip injury.
“I was injured almost all winter,” she said. “I raced in two races to get back into swing of things.
“I’m feeling good now, though it took while get back at it. The first couple races are always the toughest.”
Though she established personal best results in her two races this year, both results were second-place finishes.
Which bring us to Anne Johnston (Barrington).
Winner of the 2002, ’04 and 2015 Tely 10 races, Johnson has been the dominant female runner this season.
She beat Murrin twice, in the provincial 5K (by seven seconds) and Mews 8K races (by 24 seconds). In addition to that, Johnston also won the Uniformed Services 10K race.
But perhaps her most noteworthy achievement was a second-place showing among 437 runners at the Toronto Marathon in May.
“It will come down to the three of us, for sure,” Murrin said. “I think it will be a really close race, and anyone’s race.
“And that’s exciting. Last year, every race I ran, I won. I never really had any female competition, as such.
“This year is a totally different game, and it’s going to be fun and exciting. I’m looking forward to racing against two veterans of the sport.
“There are actually umpteen women who could be under the 60-minute mark.”
But there will only be one winner, and this race will be worth checking out.