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Tuxedo-wearing Joe Ryan, “Mr. Tely 10,” completes 45th Tely 10-Miler

The man who wrote the book on the Tely 10-Miler completed the race, wearing a tuxedo no less, for the 45th time on Sunday

Joe Ryan
Joe Ryan
Photo: East Coast Running Photos.

Joe Ryan, sporting a tuxedo for the “special occasion,” ran his 45th Tely 10-Miler in the St. John’s, N.L. area on Sunday.

The 68-year-old, known as “Mr. Tely 10” by some, first ran the Paradise to St. John’s event in 1969, when he was a student and cross-country team member at Memorial University. That year, the event (in which he was the winner) was held on a track. After several missed years, Ryan returned to the race in 1976. He has run the race for 42 consecutive years. “I wanted to do something a bit different,” he says when asked of the tuxedo. He says he also wore the tuxedo – he corrected spectators when they referenced his outfit as a suit – for his 35th Tely 10-Miler back in 2007.

Ryan knows the race so well that he wrote the book on the Tely 10-Miler. It’s entitled The Tely 10: A History of Newfoundland’s Premier Road Race 1922-2000. The race celebrated its 90th year in 2017 and is one of the nation’s oldest footraces. His best time at the Tely 10 is 51:33. (Legendary Newfoundland runner Paul McCloy holds the course record, 47:04.)

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“It’s such a classic race that people are drawn to it for that reason,” he says when asked why the Tely 10-Miler is so special. It’s considered Newfoundland and Labrador’s premier race. Despite being the guru of the Tely 10, Ryan notes that he does not get free race entry and pays the registration fee like all other participants. He resides at the six-mile mark of the course giving him a home course advantage.

Ryan’s running career extends far beyond the Tely 10-Miler. He says he’s raced 65- and finished 63 – marathons in his lifetime including 12 Boston Marathons.

The Tely 10-Miler offers commemorative pins – an initiative started by Ryan – for participants who complete an impressive number of Telys. Beginning at 15 completions, participants receive an extra pin for each additional five races including 20, 25, 30 and so on.

On Sunday, Ryan completed the 10-mile (16K) point-to-point net downhill course in 1:28:21.