After months of weighing options for the 93rd year of annual Telegram 10-Mile Road Race, the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletics Association (NLAA) has cancelled the in-person Tely 10 because of what it sees as an inability to properly maintain safety guidelines with regard to COVID-19.
“Instead, we are offering a virtual event," said NLAA technical director George Stanoev. "Just to keep the sporting community alive, just to keep everybody included and to give them an opportunity to do… their own Tely in their neighbourhood."
The Tely 10 routinely draws more than 4,000 participants and thousands more spectators. The idea of holding the race in the fall had been tossed around, but ultimately, it was decided that wouldn’t work.
“This is a large event that attracts people from all regions on the island and Labrador,” Stanoev said. “We did a risk assessment analysis for all the aspects of the race (and) we just couldn’t meet the requirements.”
It’s the first time the in-person Tely 10 has been cancelled since 1940-45 during the Second World War. However, Stanoev says a virtual event will give people a chance to take on a new challenge.
“We did a risk assessment analysis for all the aspects of (holding the race in the fall and) we just couldn’t meet the requirements.” — NLAA's George Stanoev
The name of the event is #StayHomeTely2020 and it will be expanded to include shorter and longer distances, as well as new age categories.
“We will include a kids' Tely for ages six through 11, so we’re very excited about that,” Stanoev said.
Normally, the Tely 10 takes place during the fourth weekend of July. But this year’s #StayHomeTely2020 will take place between Sept. 15 and Nov. 15, giving participants two months to get their best times.
Director of print sales and sponsorship for The Telegram, Leo Gosse, said the publication, which started the event in 1922, is in full support of this year’s virtual Tely 10.
“Hats off to (the NLAA) for their innovative approach,” Gosse said. “With these virtual events… all ages and demographics can get involved, register (and) track their progress.
“It’s more pride and not prize this year, but good on them, because it keeps the Tely 10 in the forefront (and) it gives people the motivation to be active (and) stay active during the pandemic in the coming months.”
Four different virtual races are planned. On top of the regular 10-mile event and the new one for kids, there will be a five-mile race as well as a 92-mile endurance event.
“The 92-mile endurance Tely celebrates the history of the Tely 10,” Stanoev said. “Athletes (who) will be participating in the event will complete 92-miles in (a) two-month period to commemorate the number of in-person Tely’s we have held to date.”
There will be no official time-keeping or winners this year, and no set place for the event.
“(These are) #StayHomeTely2020 challenges,” Stanoev said. “They can do it in their own neighbourhood, their own parks (or) on the treadmill for that matter. We will rely on the honour system because people will be submitting their own times and distances covered.”
The NLAA will soon be providing guidelines on how to participate. The final details on how to submit times are still being worked out.
Registration will start Sept. 1 and end Sept. 30, and will require a registration fee, the amount to be announced soon. All those taking part will receive a participation medal.
“In the next few days, we will publish all the information, so people will know exactly what they’re signing up for,” Stanoev said.