VANCOUVER – British Columbia Thunderbirds race walker Ben Thorne, a native of Kitimat, B.C., made Canadian track and field history at the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing, China.
Thorne became the first Canadian to ever win a race walk medal at the Worlds by claiming bronze on Saturday evening (in Vancouver)/Sunday (in Beijing). He crossed the finish line of the 20-kilometre event in third place with a time of one hour 19 minutes and 57 seconds, a national record. The previous benchmark was held by former UBC Thunderbird Evan Dunfee (Richmond, B.C.), who recorded a time of 1:20:13 in May of 2014.
Dunfee was not far off that mark in Beijing, where it is already Sunday, placing 12th in 1:21:48. Another UBC graduate, Inaki Gomez (Vancouver) was 14th, completing the gruelling race in 1:21:55. He and Dunfee recorded their best times of the season.
Thorne’s win in Beijing caps off an outstanding season for the Faculty of Applied Science student.
In May, he won the 5,000-metre race walk at the NAIA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Gulf Shores, Ala., his second career NAIA title.
A month later, Thorne was honoured with a place to the 2014-15 Capital One Academic All-America® College Division Track & Field/Cross Country Team, as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
He added to his medal haul by winning silver for Canada in the 20-kilometre race walk for the Summer Universiade in Gwangju, South Korea in July.
Thorne finished 20th (1:24:26) in the 20-k race walk at the 2013 World Championships in Moscow, Russia.