File photo. Dunfee at 2016 Harry Jerome Track Classic. Photo credit: Christopher Kelsall

© Copyright – 2016 – Athletics Illustrated

Canada’s all-time best racewalker, Vancouver’s Evan Dunfee, has been teasing the running community lately with his ability to lope along with the best of them, well almost.

Since he finished a very close fourth at the Rio Olympic Games, he has taken time off of training, cruising the buffet circuit and running a few races.

During the Olympic 50K race, he was in bronze medal position to very near the end of the race, but was bumped and taken off his rhythm and finished fourth. In a class move, he decided not to appeal a flip flop decision to disqualify his competitor then reinstate him by Olympic officialdom.

Fast forward to October 29th and he shows up in Nanaimo to race the BC Cross Country Championships. He was there with spikes on and the rest of the Olympic racewalking team in-tow.

Dunfee finished positionally-speaking well back at 38th overall, but exactly two minutes behind the winner, which was 24:10 for Ross Proudfoot of Guelph. Considering his low volume, post-Olympics regimen and having not worn cross-country spikes in seven years, he ran a great race.

Sunday, November 13, Dunfee was at it again, this time he raced the Fall Classic Half Marathon in Vancouver. He ran near the front and then late in the race proceeded to go for the win, finishing in the time of 1:10:44.

“It was fun out there,” shared the national 20K and 50K record holder. “I ran a 34:14 10K a couple days ago in training just to see how that pace felt and it was alright, so I figured I’d take a stab at holding mid-3:20/km for a bit, but it felt really comfortable for the first 10K [of the race] despite the rolling hills (not really hills, but they felt like it to me!), I tried to see if I could start clicking off sub-3:20s.”

Courtesy of Athletics Canada

He did and ended up running a negative split.

“I was feeling good until about 17K and then I had a gradual climb so I started to lose my rhythm. I felt like I was getting bouncy, so just tried to focus on holding technique and keeping things moving forward,” added Dunfee.

He thought that at 17K he could pick up the pace and close the race at a pace between 3:10 – 3:15 per kilometre.

He told Athletics Illustrated, “I had a chance at sub-70, which would have been awesome! I think I was just under the Canadian Women’s half-marathon record, so we had fun with that.”

Just for fun: Lanni Marchant owns the national record in both the half-marathon and marathon. She has run as fast as 1:10:47 and 2:28:00, respectively.

“I think I’m done running for a bit. I will start getting back to the walkin; however, I might keep running a little bit and maybe try to get Luc (Bruchet) or Justin (Kent) to pace me for a 1500-metre effort on the track one day soon, to see if I can dip under my high school PB of 4:15.”

Dunfee at one time owned the Canadian 20K record at 1:20:13, which he set in 2014 at the IAAF World Racing Cup in Taicang, China. He also owns the 50K record, which he set during that Rio Olympic racewalk. He crossed the line in the time of 3:41:38. The winning time was just 3:40:58. Dunfee finished 14 seconds from bronze.

“I’ve had fun masquerading as a runner this past little while. But I’m pretty out of shape.”

Asked about how fast he could run the half-marathon if he did not tour Ontario’s buffet circuit he said, “I definitely think if I was a little more conditioned that sub-70, maybe even into the 68s would be possible”

But Dunfee has bigger fish to fry. As one of the world best racewalkers, he will begin specific training for the 2017 race year, which includes the IAAF World Track and Field Championships that are taking place in August in London, UK.

Pushed on the subject about marathon possibilities, he said, “I’d love to be able to spend a year and train for a marathon, but I got to get back to the walking and try to get up on that podium next year in London! Maybe I’ll take 2021 off and try to be a full-time runner! (Or maybe 2018 after Commonwealth Games in April!)

Fall Classic: David Eikelboom finished second in the Fall Classic Half Marathon in the time of 1:12:07, while Nicholas Browne finished third in the time of 1:16:03.

Lissa Zimmer won the women’s race in the time of 1:21:12. Not too far behind was Meg Lewis Schneider in 1:23:07 and Adrienne Gomes who finished in 1:24:29. All three are in the 20-29 age-category.

The top masters (40-plus) were Mike Fertuck who was sixth overall in 1:18:53 and Meghan Strothers who crossed the line in 1:28:48 and 35th out of all women and men.

Fall Classic results: http://www.fallclassicrun.ca/results/results-2016/

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