The 91st Tely 10: Summer Spread Her Hand, and Newfoundland Didn’t Care “Weather” There Was A Race Or Not
The 91st Tely 10 road race took place on July 22, 2018, and saw more than 4,500 runners and walkers take on the ten-mile course from Paradise to Bannerman Park in downtown St. John’s. Stories of 80-year-old Florence Barron shattering a record for her age and Susan Glynn, taking on the Tely, three weeks after completing Chemotherapy. Colin Fewer would end up winning his eleventh race, finishing at a time of 52:05 with Jennifer Murrin finishing first for women at 56:58. The win would come at a bit of a cost for Murrin, who had to be checked out by St. John’s Ambulance attendees.
Perhaps the biggest story coming out of this year’s Tely was the weather, specifically the humidity. According to Brian Walsh, a meteorologist with PAL Aerospace, St. John’s International Airport was showing a temperature of 19.1 degrees and showers thirty minutes before the race started at 8:00 AM but with 99% humidity, it felt more like 26. Thirty minutes into the race, it felt like 27 and by 9:30, participants were running in what felt like 29 degrees.
This was not the forecast runners were hoping for, or the one initially forecasted early in the week. On the July 18 edition of the NTV Evening News Hour, Chief Meteorologist Eddie Sheer forecasted sun and cloud with a temperature in the low twenties for race day. He believed temperatures would be in the teens for the race itself.
As with any weather-related story in Newfoundland, this all changed. Walsh told The Racket via email, his forecast “had always mentioned the high humidity for the Tely 10.” Initially, Walsh believed the weather on race day would be fair skies or possibly some drizzle and fog patches. “This changed the following day (Thursday)” said Walsh “and I was forecasting the showers and risk of thundershowers from that point on (even as Environment Canada had sun and cloud for Sunday).”
Coping with high temperatures is nothing new for runners of the Tely 10 since the race occurs on the fourth Sunday in July every year, and (if we’re lucky in Newfoundland), meaning the race occurs at the height of summer. In 2014, thirty people required medical attention due to heat-related injuries and first responders said they were “swamped” and extra staff was brought in to help. Temperatures that year were in the mid-20’s with a humidity of 25, according to Environment Canada’s records.
Experienced runner, Renee Applebee of Burin said the humidity really affected her during her seventh Tely 10. “I remember thinking before I had even finished the first kilometre, that I seemed to be sweating a lot more than usual,” she told The Racket via Facebook Messenger. “I didn't appreciate at the time that it was because of the humidity - the air was pretty much saturated (97% humidity) and therefore the sweat wasn't evaporating off my skin.”
Applebee said she has noticed an increased effort on the part of Tely 10 organizers to educate runners on the risks associated with heat stroke and the importance of staying hydrated. This year’s race kit contained a pamphlet from Health Canada, which contained information about running in the heat. Applebee is a self-proclaimed “back-of-the-pack runner” but said she is always impressed that Tely organizers and volunteers make sure everyone is hydrated. “[There are a number of] water stations [that] still had tons of volunteers [with] water and Gatorade available even after the bulk of the runners have passed through already.”
As mentioned, Applebee has competed in seven Tely 10s as well as three half-marathons in Walt Disney World Florida, a number of races in Halifax as part of the Bluenose Marathon Weekend and the Toronto Waterfront 10K. She likened the conditions of the 2018 Tely 10 to the races in Florida in terms to temperature and humidity, though Disney starts the race at 5 AM so participants don’t have to spend too much time running in the heat.
Despite, sometimes-unfavourable weather conditions, Applebee said that she loves the experience associated with the Tely 10. “Despite the fact that it's more likely than not to be humid, hot and uncomfortable, it's a fun time and keeps me coming back year after year.”
It is never too late to start thinking about tackling the Tely! Next year’s race takes place on July 28, 2019.