Richmond Olympian racewalker Evan Dunfee wasn't expecting much going into his first race of the season, but he truly surprised himself while in Canberra, Australia last week.
Dunfee came in third place with a time of 40:04 at a 10,000-meter racewalk event — a time that he announced was his "quickest season opener ever."
He had managed to overtake the athlete in third place during the last one-kilometer of the race, with just 100 meters to the finish line.
"I was hoping to come out and just have a decent start to the season, lay down a time that I could then ... aim to smash a few weeks later," said Dunfee.
"It was a good little confidence boost to be able to actually race, rather than just sort of go out and try to do a fast time. It actually felt like I was able to dig deep and get into gear."
The last couple of months has been a slow start when it came to training, according to Dunfee.
He said he took one of his longest breaks from training to run for a seat on Richmond City Council in last year's Civic Election.
"Training was non-existent during the election campaign. And after the election, I was pretty bummed out, sort of lost and trying to figure out what to do next instead of channelling all that energy into training."
However, Dunfee said the race in Canberra was a great confidence booster.
"I think just the tens of thousands of kilometers in my leg just comes back and I'm just that little bit quicker," he said.
For the next several weeks, Dunfee will be altitude training in the mountains of Australia until his next 10,000-meter race on Feb. 2.
"I'm just really happy down here, in Australia, right now and finding my groove and getting back into things."