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Olympic racewalker decides to run, wins half-marathon

Olympic racewalker Evan Dunfee ran, and won, the Fall Classic Half-Marathon on Sunday in Vancouver covering the course in 1:10.

Evan Dunfee

Evan Dunfee

The fourth-place finisher in the 50K racewalk at the 2016 Olympics opted to run on Sunday at the Fall Classic Half-Marathon in Vancouver. The result: A victory in an impressive 1:10:44.

Evan Dunfee, the Canadian record holder in the 50K walk, negative split the race, according to timing company Sportstats, covering the first 10K in 33:46 (3:22 per kilometre) and the next 11.1K in 36:57 (3:19 per kilometre). According to his Strava splits, his fastest kilometre was 3:11.

“Well that was fun,” he tweeted out after the race. “Running is hard. Tried to race walk the final metres and almost face planted.” Before the race, he made a call out on social media for time predictions. The closest guess appears to have been 1:12:59. Dunfee’s goal was originally to run under 1:15; during the race he stuck with the leader and pulled away as he was feeling good.

The Vancouver resident has walked 50K in as fast as 3:41:38 (4:26 per kilometre average), the best time ever by a Canadian, and has incorporated cross-country and road races into his training schedule in the past. He contested the B.C. Cross-Country Championships in Nanaimo at the end of October. At the Rio Olympics, he placed 10th in the 20K walk before competing in the 50K, an event in which he was temporarily upgraded to bronze but then reverted back to fourth because of an initial disqualification.

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The Fall Classic Half-Marathon is held annually at the University of British Columbia and the surrounding area. Sunday’s course featured some rolling sections and featured two out-and-back stretches on Southwest Marine Drive. The Fall Classic is the third of three races as part of the RUNVAN hat-trick, the first two being the BMO Vancouver Marathon and the Granville Island Turkey Trot.

The 26-year-old was not the only Olympian in athletics who took part in the Fall Classic on Sunday. London 2012 Olympian Dylan Wykes (pictured below) acted as the 1:30 pace bunny in the half-marathon. Wykes paced the crowds well finishing in 1:29:44.

Evan Dunfee

It was a University of British Columbia alumni sweep as Lissa Zimmer (pictured below) won the women’s half-marathon in 1:21:12.

Evan Dunfee

Complete results for the Fall Classic can be found here. There was also a 5K and 10K as part of Sunday’s race day at UBC.