The Athlete of the Month is our way of acknowledging a BC-located athlete who has displayed outstanding performances in their sport and deserves recognition. Athletes chosen monthly to be the face of Canadian Sport Institute Pacific will receive a celebration feature on our website and a gift from 2XU.
Each athlete selected as Athlete of the Month receives a small token of congratulation sponsored by 2XU. CSI Pacific would like to thank 2XU for their generosity and support of the program.
Athletics – Race Walk
September 28, 1990
Place of Birth:
Gerald Dragomir (Registered CSI Pacific Coach)
- Rio Olympics 4th place 50km walk with my friends and family present
- World Championship Bronze 50km walk in horridly hot and humid conditions
- Pan-Am Games 2015 Gold 20km walk on home soil, standing on the podium with teammate Inaki Gomez hearing “O, Canada” played
Evan Dunfee has made his mark as he looks toward Tokyo 2020 qualification. An Olympian (Rio 2016) and race walker hailing from Richmond, BC, Dunfee raced his way to a bronze medal in the 50k race walk event at the IAAF World Championships in Doha, Qatar on September 29, 2019, where he also captained the team. He completed the race with a time of 4:05:02. In addition to his tremendous success at Worlds, earlier this year Dunfee broke the 10,000m Canadian race walk record, and was a member of Canada’s Pan Am Games team (5th place finish; 20km race walk). Dunfee is coached by Gerald Dragomir, a CSI Pacific registered coach, and a graduate of the National Coaching Institute (NCI), now known as the Advanced Coaching Diploma.
In his off time from training and competing for Canada, Dunfee commits himself to community involvement. Just weeks ago, Dunfee, nominated alongside Rick Hansen and Ryan Dodd, was awarded the Athletes CAN Social Responsibility award at the Canadian Sport Awards. This award recognizes a current or former national team athlete “who has made a significant contribution to society through sport and/or volunteer initiatives that have made a positive impact on athlete social responsibility in Canada and/or internationally” (AthletesCan, 2017). A recent example (fall 2018) that demonstrates his commitment to community is Dunfee’s KidSport Walks Campaign, where he committed to walking 25 kilometres a day for 25 days and speaking to 25 schools, taking donations for KidSport BC and raising more than $25,000 in celebration of KidSport’s 25th anniversary. In addition, Dunfee maintains an active social media presence that follows his journey in and out of sport, shows avid support of other Canadian athletes, and promotes the values of sportsmanship and clean, fair play.
In addition to his success on the course and his contributions to community, Dunfee has also excelled in the academic sphere. He completed his Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from the University of British Columbia in 2014.
When were you first introduced to race walking?
I started race walking when I was 10 years old. I continued with running and other sports all the way through high school and still found time to play other sports recreationally when I got the chance.
How did you get into race walking?
My older brother and I were both running with the Richmond Kajaks track club and he was also running in high school. After getting his appendix taken out his high school coach suggested trying race walking to maintain fitness while his stitches healed. He gave it a try and found some success with it. As the younger brother I figured, “well if he could do it, it must be easy”. So he showed me the technique, and I went off to my first race. I won that first race, quicker than my goal time. And as a competitive, yet underdeveloped kid, I was desperately looking for something I could be the best at. After my first success in race walk, I decided that this was going to be the thing I pursued.
What challenges have you face with being a race walker?
The biggest challenge in race walking is balancing your energy use during a race. You want to get to the finish line with nothing left in the tank, but you have to maintain legal technique throughout. So if you spend your energy too early, the final stages become very difficult to keep moving forward and maintain your technique. Whereas if you have energy in the tank you can’t summon a big sprint finish like you can in running, as you’d break technique.
The other challenge is using my platform to promote sport. Race walking is ridiculed and looked down on by so many, despite the intense physical, technical and psychological demands required. That makes it harder for me to use my voice to impact change. Ironically, walking is such a great form of exercise and I feel perfectly positioned to promote its benefits.
What is your favourite part of the sport?
The camaraderie between the race walkers is something special. No one gets into race walking for fame and money. We are all in it because we have a desire to see what our potential is and that strips the egos you get in other events/sports. Having been in training camps with 20 athletes from 12+ countries, it is amazing to think what this sport has given me, the friendships I’ve created and the places I’ve been lucky enough to travel to.
If you could specialize in any other sport, what would it be and why?
Within Athletics I would love to be a Decathlete. These are hands down the world’s most versatile athletes and their range of skills is incredible. The 2-day event deals with so many ups and downs that strong mental resolve is a necessity as well.
If I could specialize in another sport I would love to do something like rock climbing, skate boarding or gymnastics. Something that combines an amazing level of body awareness, strength and mental fortitude.
What does your upcoming months look like before Tokyo 2020?
I’m not a big fan of being cold. So come mid-December I’ll be heading off to Australia for a few months, where I’ll be training with a couple dozen athletes from all over the world and taking part in ground breaking sports science and nutrition research out of the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra. From there I will spend a little bit of time at home before a spring altitude camp somewhere in the USA. Our World Team Championships are in Minsk in May so that is the main focus for the first half of the year. After that I’ll spend a little bit more time at home before heading back to St. Moritz where we train most years to put the final touches on our Tokyo prep. All in all, the next 10 months won’t see me at home very much.
What’s a piece of advice for any upcoming high performance athletes?
Set really big goals and chase those goals relentlessly. Check in often. My goal is, and has always been, to win Olympic Gold and break the world record. You might not get all the way to those big goals, but you’ll end up so much further along from where you started. At a certain point, take all that you’ve learned and pay it forward. Use your platform and your voice to help others because that is the best legacy we can have as athletes.