Walk This Way: Get to Know Race Walker Evan Dunfee

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    When Evan Dunfee’s older brother had his appendix removed, a coach encouraged race walking as a way to maintain fitness through the recovery and healing process. According to Evan, 11 at the time, “He had some success with it and as the younger brother I naively and correctly assumed that if he could do it, then it must not be very hard. I won my first race, an 800m, in 4:57. I was immediately hooked and haven’t looked back.”

    After a stellar performance at the 2016 Rio Olympics, in which he demonstrated incredible athleticism as well as sportsmanship, Evan continues to look forward. Evan will walk the BMO Vancouver Marathon this weekend in preparation for the Pan-Am Race Walking Cup in Peru later this month.

    Canadian race walker Evan Dunfee to walk BMO Vancouver Marathon. Source: Evan Dunfee

    In a featured athlete interview, Evan said, “..it will really just be a training walk. I will be aiming for something around 3:10-3:15. What I am most looking forward to though is pulling people along to PB’s! No one likes getting passed by a walker so I’m hoping in those final 5KM I can push people out of fear of embarrassment to run quicker than they ever have before, which would be a job well done for me!”

    We got to know Evan and learn about his passion for the race walk by asking him to complete some open ended sentences.

    I found out I was really good at race walking because…

    I was breaking records and winning races from the time I was 12.

    One thing that’s definitely similar about running and race walking is…

    The physiology and the aerobic engine needed for elite performance. For example, my VO2max is 75ml/kg/min.

    One way that running and race walking are totally different is…

    The technical constraints mean that our “sprint” finishes are calculated efforts of 2km-5km instead of a few hundred meters.

    A half marathon race walk at the Olympics just won’t be the same because…

    It intrinsically has no value. By definition, if it’s half of something, it’s incomplete. It’s the same reason why a running half marathon wouldn’t be right in the Olympics.

    When I’m in peak training and covering two marathons a week, the most crucial element of proper recovery is…

    Sleep, which has been made a lot easier this year with my new Essentia memory foam mattress.

    The aspect of my training and competing I’m most working to improve in 2017 is…

    Patience. The 50km in Rio was a great race for me, but I lacked patience. I got eager and I think it cost me a chance at Olympic gold. This year in racing, I’m working on being patient (and it’s paying off, picking up my first ever World Cup win in Mexico in March), but the same goes for training. I’m not forcing myself to be in top shape in May. I’m allowing myself to build crescendo style towards August when it all matters.

    When  I suffer through a disappointing performance in a race or training, the first thing I do is…

    Honestly, get pissed off. I’ve found great success in allowing myself that time immediately after disappointment to vent my frustration and lay out my anger right away. Once that is over I can then work on finding perspective and taking the good away, of which there is always some. But I can only do that if I allow myself to be angry for a little bit first.

    The thing I most want to see for race walking in the next ten years is…

    For it to continue existing.

    Something about my event I’ll never get tired of is…

    The friendships and the mutual cooperation of athletes from different countries to help one another succeed. In 2016 and 2017, we brought together 30+ athletes from nearly 20 countries for studies and training camps at the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. You just don’t get that kind of mutual cooperation from any other event group. We are very tight and close knit.

    • Ravi Singh