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Nunn back in Bonsall after third Olympic Games

John Nunn competed in the 50,000-meter race walking event during the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, and the Bonsall resident placed 43rd with a time of 4:16.12.

"The end result was not what I hoped for and worked for, but nevertheless pleased to be there and hoping to go again," Nunn said.

The Aug. 19 race was Nunn's third Olympic competition. He made his Olympic debut during the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. Nunn competed in the 20,000-meter race walk that year and placed 26th with a time of 1:27.38.

"The first one in Athens is always the most memorable," said Nunn.

Nunn did not compete in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. He returned to the Olympic Games in 2012, and in the London competition his first Olympic 50,000-meter walk took him 4:03.28, which placed 40th that year.

"I had better performances in those two," said Nunn. "This one ended up being a really brutal race."

High heat and high humidity affected the walkers this year at the Rio de Janeiro games.

"It was clearly a big problem for everyone in the field," Nunn said.

The race began with 80 participants, and 32 of those did not complete the course.

"I was pleased to finish," said Nunn. "I didn't go there to finish. I was hoping to walk way better."

Nunn trains approximately 100 miles each week; the daily distances vary but typically range from 10 to 25 miles. In many cases the San Luis Rey bicycle trail is used for training, although Nunn doesn't restrict his training activity to North County.

"Quite often we end up going all over San Diego County," said Nunn.

Nunn's race walking career began in 1996 with competition for University of Wisconsin-Parkside, which is in Division II of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. He was raised in Colorado before attending high school in Indiana. Nunn was on the cross-country team and had an encounter with the University of Wisconsin-Parkside when he traveled to Wisconsin for a cross-country race.

"They had a walking program and the coach offered me full tuition at that point," said Nunn. "I figured it was worth a try."

At one time Nunn planned for a career in the medical field after college.

"This kind of just kept getting in the way," said of Nunn of race walking, which does offer prize money. "I've been able to make a living at it, enjoyed it, traveled the world," Nunn said.

Nunn and his daughter, Ella, also own and operate Ella's Cookies. That business was founded approximately five years ago.

Nunn has some limited medical work, as he is a member of the United States Army and is classified as a dental hygienist, although he is also in the Army's athlete program and thus has been on detachment in California on and off for the past 16 years even though his unit is based at Fort Carson in Colorado.

Nunn trained at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista until 2006, when the U.S. Olympic Committee and USA Track and Field relocated the race walkers.

"I just kept on training in San Diego because it was working," Nunn said.

Nunn has lived in Bonsall since 2011. His ex-wife had previously moved to Bonsall, so Nunn moved to North County to be closer to his daughter, who is now 12. Nunn lived in Escondido for approximately a year and a half before moving to Bonsall.

Other than the result of the race, Nunn enjoyed the experience at his most recent Olympic Games.

"We had a good time," said Nunn. "Rio did a good job."

The 2020 Olympics will be held in Tokyo. Nunn has not yet decided whether to seek a better result in four years, although he did say he will continue to practice and train.

"Definitely leaning towards giving it one more shot," said Nunn.


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