On March 17, Evan Dunfee and Ben Thorne brought Canada to the World level in men’s racewalk. Their 20km times of 1:22:46 and 1:22:49 put both of them into the Top 40 in the world. This is something that has not been done in Canada in over a decade. Combine this with the February performance of their teammate, Inaki Gomez, and you have a team of a quality that has never been seen before in Canada.
Opening an ever widening lead within the first 100 meters of the race, with Thorne a few meters back, Evan paced himself masterfully. The pacing and patience that Evan showed in his debut 50km event in the fall showed itself once again in Huntington Beach, CA. By 15km Evan had steadily been able to increase the pace to the point where a personal best and World Championships “B” standard was inevitable. In the final 5km of the race Ben closed on Evan to briefly take the lead until Evan responded with a big push in the final 2km to lead Ben to the finish line with a 3 second gap. In the process the two Racewalk West athletes lapped the field on the 1.052km course with the exception of the third place finisher, Patrick Stroupe.
The next challenge for Evan, Ben and Inaki, Canada’s best racewalking trio ever, will be the Pan Am Racewalk Cup which will be held in Guatemala on May 25. The trio, with the addition of teammate Creighton Connolley, are looking for personal and team podium finishes in the premiere event in the Western Hemisphere this season. They will then attempt to repeat the performance, representing Canada at the FISU Games in July in Kazan, Russia before heading for the World Championships in Moscow in August. Gomez has the “A” standard and Thorne the “B” for the 20km event and Dunfee has the “B” standard for the 50km event.
Now that the three are becoming familiar with view from the podium at World level events podium finishes at the World Championships and the Olympics are not many events away.