From Athletics Canada — 2022 Canadian Athletics Championships — Langley, BC

Day One at the Bell Canadian Track and Field Championships exclusively comprised the race walking events, and a pair of familiar faces emerged on top at the Mission Raceway Park in Mission, B.C.

Olympic 50km RW bronze medalist Evan Dunfee, and U20 10,000m RW Canadian record holder Olivia Lundman both took home a national title: Dunfee in the Open 20km, and Lundman in the U20 10km.

In calm, 20 degree weather, Dunfee stopped the clock at 1 hour, 23 minutes and 24 seconds, following a heated battle with fellow Olympian Ben Thorne. The pair of B.C.-based athletes exchanged the lead for much of the race’s first 15 kilometres, with Thorne even putting a 20m gap on Dunfee near the 12km mark. With three kilometres to go, however, Dunfee made the break, and bested Thorne’s time of 1:24:01 by 37 seconds.

Photo credit: Athletics Canada

“I’m pleasantly surprised,” said Dunfee, who had walked to a time of 40:38.99 at the Harry Jerome International Track Classic earlier this month. “You can fake your way through 10k, so this was like ‘let’s see if that fitness translates to strength,’ and it did.”

“Now, it’s just a month of continuing the build back form, and hopefully take this pace from today and extend it for another 15km,” he said, adding that he hopes to represent Canada at the World Athletics Championship in Eugene, Oregon in July.

Thorne, meanwhile, said his finishing time was his fastest since 2018, but that he was hoping to close faster in the last five kilometres.

In the women’s Open category, Joaen Lu of British Columbia took home gold in a time of one hour and 53 minutes flat.

Olivia Lundman, meanwhile, racing for Nanaimo Track and Field Club, dominated the women’s U20 race, crossing the finish line in 49 minutes and 23 seconds. The B.C. athlete had set a new national 10,000m race walking record of 47:38.78 earlier this year, and was disappointed of falling short of that mark.

 “I didn’t quite have it today,” she said, “but it as still a great learning experience,” she said, “I hadn’t raced on the road courses as much (as on the track).”

Lundman added that she plans to race at the B.C. provincial championships next, and hopes to eventually qualify for the World U20 Championships in Cali, Colombia, in August.

Lowell Solmes of B.C., the U20 men’s champion, finished behind Lundman in 50 minutes and 27 seconds.

The Canadian Bell Track and Field Championships continue tomorrow and go until Sunday, June 26. Follow our FacebookTwitterInstagram and website pages for live updates throughout the week.

Find information on tickets, scheduling and more on our event page here!

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