From San Diego to London: Racewalker John Nunn Takes 43rd in the Games

John Nunn of Chula Vista had a lead early at January Olympic Trials in Santee, but lost it and regained it.

John Nunn of Chula Vista—who won the Olympic Trials in Santee—finished 43rd today in the 50-kilometer race walk at the London Games, finishing what he called “the most grueling, physical race that there is in the Olympics” in a personal best time of four hours, three minutes, 28 seconds.

In late January, Nunn made laps of a 31-mile course on Mast Boulevard east of Magnolia in 4:04:38.

Saturday morning in London, the 34-year-old Nunn moved up 14 spots over the final 20 kilometers (12.4 miles). He was 57th after 30 kilometers, 54th after 35, 52nd after 40 and 47th after 45.

What began as a field of 63 walkers raced 50 laps on a two-kilometer (1.2-mile) loop course in London that started at The Mall, then headed toward Buckingham Palace, around the Victoria Memorial and up Constitution Hill toward Hyde Park Corner before returning to The Mall to complete the loop.

Sergey Kirdyapkin of Russia won in an Olympic record 3:35:59. Jarred Tallent of Australia was second in 3:36:53 and Tiafeng Si of China third in 3:37:16.

Nunn was the lone American in the race.

Walkers are required to have one foot on the ground at all times. The leading leg must be straight from the moment it is first in contact with the ground. Judges are stationed at points along the course to examine the walkers’ technique.

Eight walkers were disqualified and four failed to finish.

Nunn qualified for his second Olympics by winning the Olympic Trials in Santee on Jan. 22. He was 26th in the 20-kilometer walk in the 2004 Games and failed to qualify for the 2008 Games.

“It has been a long road to get back,” Nunn said after winning the Olympic Trials race. “My daughter (Ella) was 6 months old when I went in ’04 and I really wanted to give her a chance to come and see it again.”

—City News Service contributed to this report.