Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Walking Away Happy ; City Native Finishes 43rd, Posts 50K Racewalking PR

Newspaper article Evansville Courier & Press (2007-Current)

Walking Away Happy ; City Native Finishes 43rd, Posts 50K Racewalking PR

Article excerpt

LONDON - John Nunn arrived at the 2012 Olympics knowing he wasn't going to win, or get a medal, or even finish in the top 10. Getting into the top 20 would've been something special.

So what mattered most, the Evansville native and Harrison High School graduate said, was to do his best. And he did.

The lone American entry in the longest event in Olympic track, Nunn posted a personal-best time of 4 hours, 3 minutes, 28 seconds in Saturday's men's 50-kilometer racewalk at The Mall that leads to Buckingham Palace.

That he finished 43rd - more than 27 minutes behind the winner, Russia's Sergey Kirdyapkin, who set an Olympic record - didn't seem to matter.

"I'll take it for now, but I've still got a lot of improvement ahead of me," he said after his second Olympic appearance. "I wanted to be right around four hours, but I just started walking 50 kilometers nine months ago.

"I didn't have enough strength for the second half."

Nunn, a 34-year-old staff sergeant in the Army's San Diego- based World Class Athlete Program, competed in the 20-kilometer racewalk at the 2004 Athens Olympics, where he was 26th.

Nunn missed the 2008 Beijing Games, but won the 50-kilometer race at the U.S. Olympic Trials in January to get here. Then he waited.

Nunn arrived in England on July 17 to train, marched in the Opening Ceremony and spent the past three weeks living in the Athletes Village, while his parents took care of his 8-year-old daughter, Ella.

He also appeared on NBC's Today Show, where he taught Al Roker, Matt Lauer and Ryan Seacrest how to racewalk.

Finally, on the next-to-last day of the Olympics, on a sun- splashed summer morning in Britain, Nunn got his chance to compete against 62 other walkers on the tree-shaded, flag-lined, 2- kilometer loop course with the Queen Victoria Memorial at its center.

"The 50K is the most grueling track event there is," Nunn said. …

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