Nfld. & Labrador

Tely 10 road race postponed due to high heat

Environment Canada has issued high heat warnings for much of Newfoundland, with temperatures expected to hit 28 C on Sunday, and a humidex up to 38 C.

Race director says safety had to be top priority, race pushed to late August

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)

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.

"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."

Ball said the race is now scheduled for Aug. 28, but later in the day Tely 10 organizers said the date will be confirmed in the coming days.

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

The race has traditionally been held on the fourth 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.

Helen Day, third from left, was looking forward to running her 19th Tely 10 alongside her kids and grandkids. They picked up their kits on Saturday, despite the race being cancelled. (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 — cooler 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."

Kelly Lee and Penny Power said they will likely miss the makeup date. (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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