She’s a soccer player, cross country runner and pole vaulter – just to name a few – but it was her record-breaking race walk that garnered loud cheers and high accolades for B.C. teen Olivia Lundman this weekend.
On Friday, the 15-year-old Lantzville athlete smashed an 18-year-old record in the 1500 metre race walk, originally set by Victoria’s Megan Huzzey with a time of 7:27:48 in 2000.
Lundman crossed the finish line at the time of 7:22.41.
“Zone 6 is a huge zone and so everyone was cheering really loud for me,” Lundman said. “The encouragement really helped me get around the track and having a whole family there to support me was really fun.”
Ironically, Lundman didn’t walk into the sport on her own — it’s was her natural form and stature that got the attention of a Vancouver Island coach.
“I didn’t actually start race walking until I was 12,” Lundman told Black Press Media. “When some of my friends were practicing and they said ‘hey Olivia why don’t you come over and try it?’ and I said ‘Why not?’”
Young athletes who thrive in competition on the track will often talk about the pressure that comes along with high expectations, and Lundman said she’s no exception.
But with a few deep breaths, Lundman had her mind set on two numbers: 7:27.
“I was on the start line and that’s what was going through my head,” she said. “I’m going to break the record.”
Race walking has a large focus on technical form, with top athletes having to consider maintaining a swift pace while ensuring one foot is on the track at all times.
With one lap to go, Lundman picked up the pace but said she had to keep her form in order to not get disqualified.
“I just smoothly walked through the finish line.”
When she realized she had beaten the record time, it was first excitement she felt, then relief sunk in.
“The 1500 race walk, it hurts, and you’re in a lot of pain. You just cross the finish line and you’re just dead,” she said. “But knowing I broke the record made it all worth it.”
Set to enter Grade 10 in September at Dover Bay Secondary, Lundman carries a grace and calmness many teens strive to control, and meets it with a humble nature that’s earned her respect from peers both on and off the track.
It’s a sure-fire formula that will hoist her into her next big competition later this summer when she represents British Columbia at the National Youth Track and Field Championships in Manitoba.
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