Tely 10 road race postponed due to high heat

·3 min read
The 94th running of the Tely 10 was called off less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to begin. The organizing committee cited high heat and humidity as the cause for the delay. (Emma Grunwald/CBC - image credit)
The 94th running of the Tely 10 was called off less than 24 hours before it was scheduled to begin. The organizing committee cited high heat and humidity as the cause for the delay. (Emma Grunwald/CBC - image credit)
Emma Grunwald/CBC
Emma Grunwald/CBC

The 94th running of the Tely 10 road race, set to take place Sunday morning in St. John's, has been postponed due to forecast extreme heat.

Race director Randy Ball confirmed the news to CBC on Saturday, less than 24 hours before 3,000 people were set to take off from the starting line in Paradise and run 10 miles into downtown St. John's.

The race is now scheduled for Aug. 28.

"It was basically too risky to put the race ahead in this humidity and this heat," Ball said. "We felt the safest thing to do was to avoid any casualties or any dangers was to make everybody safe by cancelling it."

Environment Canada has issued high heat warnings for much of Newfoundland, with temperatures expected to hit 28 degrees on Sunday, and a humidex up to 38 degrees. Those conditions would spell havoc for runners — especially for locals in a city where the average summer temperature is 16 degrees.

The race has traditionally been held on the third Sunday in July, but took place in October last year because of pandemic delays.

Ball said the decision was made by the race committee after monitoring the forecast for several days and consulting with St. John Ambulance, which administers first aid along the course.

Organizers said more information on the cancellation and rescheduling will be available in the coming days.

Runners disappointed, but understanding

It was going to be a special Tely 10 for Helen Day. The veteran runner was going to be running with her two daughters, son-in-law and two grandchildren who made the trip from Alberta.

"They thought it would be nice to run in the Tely 10 with their nan this year," Day said. "It is very disappointing, it is, but I understand why it is [postponed] because it's very hot."

While the makeup date will work for Day, it won't work for her family who will be returning home to Alberta.

Ryan Cooke/CBC
Ryan Cooke/CBC

Organizers were hoping to avoid a repeat of the 2014 race, when 30 people needed medical attention due to the heat and two runners, Mark Didham and Andrew Whelan, ended up in medically-induced comas.

Temperatures that day hovered in the mid-20s — less than what is expected on Sunday.

For experienced runners like Kelly Lee, the decision makes sense but is hard to swallow.

"I know we have run in the heat before a couple years ago, but I know there are so many people that are really beginners and might not make good choices and put themselves at risk," Lee said. "I'm really frustrated and disappointed, but I get it."

Ryan Cooke/CBC
Ryan Cooke/CBC

Lee was part of a group from Clarenville that was excited to run together. They joked they'll race down George Street on Saturday night instead.

As for Helen Day, her family will spend the day hiking — and won't be cancelling their champagne celebration on Sunday afternoon.

"It may start tonight, because we usually take it easy on the night before the Tely 10, so it may very well start today."

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