Stevan Dixon has always been fast. He was, however, a late bloomer to the sport of track and field — where he is proving to be among the world’s elite as he nears 50 years of age.
A native of St. Petersburg, Fla., Dixon, 48, just recently celebrated 20 years as a truck driver for Ottawa’s Walmart Distribution Center with an accident-free safety record. It was that job that brought him to Kansas in 1998, and he stayed not only for his job, but to finish his college degree and athletic eligibility.
Football was Dixon’s passion and he played safety for MidAmerica Nazarene University in Olathe in 1999. Injuries to his back, however, cut his college football career short. It was later he made a visit to MidAmerica’s track coach.
“I came to track really late,” Dixon said. “I’ve always been fast. I was told when I was younger to run track, but I wanted to play football.”
After making the team, he was a key cog in MidAmerica’s 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams that were 2003 NAIA national championship qualifiers. Once his eligibility was up, Dixon took a long break from racing before the decision to start running master-level races in his 40s. World Master Athletics have five-year age brackets from 30 all the way past 100-years-old, according to masterrankings.com
Dixon primarily runs collegiate meets unattached and is more than holding his own. In 2016, he had the top master-level time in the world for the 100-meter dash in the 45-49 age bracket with a time of 11.01 seconds. Last year, he was second on the same list with a time of 11.22 seconds, and eighth in the world both years in the 200-meter dash. At many meets, Dixon regularly beats collegiate athletes more than half his age.
He does all of this with little time to train. This year’s work schedule was especially hectic, he said, working five days out on the road and two days off. While he is able to get in workouts twice a week, the main thing has been his diet, Dixon said.
“I am just naturally gifted,” he said. “I always have been. Even when I was running 4.40 [in college] I had no technique and coaches would tell me about it. I have two days a week where I can get a workout in. I have a mile day, my tempo day, and the next day I will do short variants of sprints and maybe some weight training.
“[For my job] you might be running to Colorado, you might be running to Chicago or you might be running to Kansas City. You never know from day to day. Out on the road I can’t really do much. The main thing I focus on is watching what I eat because I am a bigger guy. I am close to 190 and when I played football, I was a little bit heavier. I have to watch what I eat because I am not as active during my work week.”
Despite all Dixon has accomplished, there are still more goals to strive for, he said. Currently living in Overland Park, Dixon noted he and some of his close friends seek to claim the world record in the 4x100-meter relay this year. The team, comprised of Allen Woodward, Houston, Texas; Jeff Mack, Clearwater, Fla; Karnell Vickers, Atlanta, Ga; and Dixon already owns the American 4x100 record in the 45-49 age group.
“Going after the world record is obviously No. 1 for any guy who is fast enough and thinks he can do it,” Dixon said. “If I have a good race and put it all together, I think I have a shot at something like that in the 100m or 200m. Definitely getting the world record in the relays with the guys I have, we are going to try to get that done this year in the 4x100-meter relay.”
Dixon also just started up an Instagram account with stats and photos @elitemastersprinter.