Evan Dunfee’s biggest competitor Tuesday was someone he couldn’t even see.
A year after smashing his own national record in the 10,000-metre race walk at the Harry Jerome Classic in Burnaby, B.C., the Canadian was back and looking to repeat the feat.
Dunfee finished first with a time of 40 minutes 38.99 seconds on Tuesday, but couldn’t beat the 38:39.72 he posted in 2021.
“It was tough out there, thinking with like, 500 [metres] to go being like, ‘I just finished this race this time last year,”‘ he said. “You know, never fun to be lapped by your ghost but it’s just a different point.
Dunfee followed his performance at last year’s Harry Jerome Classic with a bronze-medal performance at the Tokyo Olympics, finishing the 50-kilometre race walk in 3 hours 50 minutes and 59 seconds.
With a nagging upper-hamstring injury, the 31-year-old said he isn’t in quite the same form this season, but he’s working his way up to July’s World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Ore.
Where his race walking career goes after this season, however, remains unclear.
The new challenge has been really enjoyable, Dunfee said.
“There’ve been days where I’ve been like ‘Ah, I know, I have to go do my like easy 10k. But I really want to read this 200-page planning document,”‘ he said. “I just dove headfirst into this municipal politics thing and I’m trying to find a new way to use my platform and my community involvement to find some fun ways to really contribute to my community in new ways.”
The two-time Olympian will have one advantage over the other candidates heading into the vote on Oct. 15.
“If nothing else, I’m going to be the most efficient door knocker,” Dunfee said with a smile.
This year’s Harry Jerome Classic features several Canadian Olympians, including Madeleine Kelly, who finished 31st in the women’s 800m in Tokyo and Damian Warner, who took gold in the decathlon.