Never heard of the Tely 10? You should.

BLT Runners teammates at the finish

The Tely 10 may well be one of the best kept secrets on Atlantic Canada’s running circuit.

It’s considered one of the oldest road races in North America. 2016 marked the 89th running of the event. Yet whenever I’ve told people I was racing in the Tely 10, with the exception of a few native Newfoundlanders, most had never heard of it.

The name Tely 10 comes from the title sponsor, the Telegram newspaper. 10 miles is the race distance.

I just finished my first Tely 10 on July 24 and had a blast. Here’s why.

Coasting down one of the many hills (credit: David PC)

It’s fast. It is probably near impossible to string together a good stretch of reasonably flat for a road race in the rugged city of St. John’s. So what is the best way to contend with hills? Run down them.  The course starts in the town of Paradise, continues through the city of Mount Pearl and and finishes in capital city St. John’s. It’s one-way and mostly downhill. Like I said, fast.

A selfie from Signal Hill with downtown St. John’s in the background

It’s in St. John’s in the middle of the summer. St. John’s is a super cool city. It’s totally walkable and there are lots of fun things to see and do. As with most places, summer is the greatest time to be there. We made a long weekend out of it and had a blast.

It’s a great distance. My focus is usually on half marathons. I’ll also enter a few 5k and 10k races each year.  With my training mostly focusing on the half marathon distance (21k), adjusting for a 10-miler (16k) is not much of a stretch. Racing 10 miles was fun. I finished in 1:10 which is a comfortable amount of time to be pushing yourself hard (especially when it’s downhill). When I was done, I was ready to be done. Throughout I felt great!

Some of the 4,300+ participants about 2km in (credit: Tely 10 official)

It’s big. Perhaps not all would agree, but I think big events are fun. Over 4,300 people raced in this year’s Tely 10. That’s nearly 3 times bigger than the Bluenose Half Marathon!  The whole city is into it.It’s a closed road course with people lining the streets to cheer you on. It’s a great feeling to be lining up at the start with so many other people and the atmosphere throughout was great!

It’s well run. The sign of a well run event is that you don’t notice. Race kit pick up was a breeze on Friday. Sunday, the morning of the race I showed up to catch a pre-arranged bus ride to the start line and was able to easily make my way to the appropriate starting corral. The race started on time, the course was clear, and the water stations were well situated and well staffed. The finish had water and food for runners. All of the above for a reasonable registration fee of $55. Sounds like basic stuff but not things to take for granted.

It’s local, sort of. Sure, St. John’s isn’t exactly close. But it’s part of Atlantic Canada and next largest city to Halifax in our region. 90 minutes on the plane and you’re there.

We had great weather. Most summer races are tough due to the heat. Being in St. John’s I was expecting it to be a bit cooler that what I’m used to, and I was right. This year was warm but not unbearable. Last year the temperature apparently was around 9 C. I wasn’t at all worried about heat acclimation. Then on race day, we had a light wind at our backs. An added bonus push!

Post race celebration dinner!

I had company. Races are always a lot more fun when you can share the experience with others. Five members of our running club, the BLT Runners, made the Tely 10 trip. Some of us ran together in St. John’s in the days leading up to the race. We hung out together at the start. We cheered each other at the finish. Then we had a great post-race celebration dinner.

In a serendipitous twist my wife Stacey and I were exactly 10 minutes apart (to second) by gun time and both finished 24th in our divisions. How perfect!

Tely 10, I pledge to return!

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