Racewalking

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Racewalking
1987WorldCupTrials.jpg
Racewalkers at the U.S. World Cup Trials in 1987
Presence
Country or regionWorld
Olympic Yes

Racewalking, or race walking, is a long-distance discipline within the sport of athletics. Although a foot race, it is different from running in that one foot must appear to be in contact with the ground at all times. This is assessed by race judges. Typically held on either roads or running tracks, common distances range from 3,000 metres (1.9 mi) up to 100 kilometres (62.1 mi).

Contents

There are two racewalking distances contested at the Summer Olympics: the 20 kilometres race walk (men and women) and 50 kilometres race walk (men only). [1] Both are held as road events. The biennial World Athletics Championships also features these three events, in addition to a 50 km walk for women. The IAAF World Race Walking Cup, first held in 1961, is a stand-alone global competition for the discipline and it has 10 kilometres race walks for junior athletes, in addition to the Olympic-standard events. The IAAF World Indoor Championships featured 5000 m and 3000 m race walk variations, but these were discontinued after 1993. Top level athletics championships and games typically feature 20 km racewalking events.

The sport emerged from a British culture of long-distance competitive walking known as pedestrianism, which began to develop the ruleset that is the basis of the modern discipline around the mid-19th century. Since the mid-20th century onwards, Russian and Chinese athletes have been among the most successful on the global stage, with Europe and parts of Latin America producing most of the remaining top level walkers.

Compared to other forms of foot racing, stride length is reduced; to achieve competitive speeds racewalkers must attain cadence rates comparable to those achieved by world-class 800 metres runners. [2]

Rules

Men's 20-km walk during the 2005 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki, Finland. The walker at the right appears to be illegal in that both feet are off the ground, but according to the current rules, an infraction is only committed when the loss of contact is visible to the human eye. 2005 World Championships in Athletics2.jpg
Men's 20-km walk during the 2005 World Championships in Athletics in Helsinki, Finland. The walker at the right appears to be illegal in that both feet are off the ground, but according to the current rules, an infraction is only committed when the loss of contact is visible to the human eye.

There are only two rules that govern racewalking. [4] [5] The first dictates that the athlete's back toe cannot leave the ground until the heel of the front foot has touched. Violation of this rule is known as loss of contact. The second rule requires that the supporting leg must straighten from the point of contact with the ground and remain straightened until the body passes directly over it. These rules are judged by the unaided human eye. Athletes regularly lose contact for a few milliseconds per stride, which can be caught on film, but such a short flight phase is said to be undetectable to the human eye.[ citation needed ]

Athletes stay low to the ground by keeping their arms pumping low, close to their hips. If one sees a racewalker's shoulders rising, it may be a sign that the athlete is losing contact with the ground. What appears to be an exaggerated swivel to the hip is, in fact, a full rotation of the pelvis. Athletes aim to move the pelvis forward and to minimize sideways motion in order to achieve maximum forward propulsion. Speed is achieved by stepping quickly with the aim of rapid turnover. This minimizes the risk of the feet leaving the ground. Strides are short and quick, with pushoff coming forward from the ball of the foot, again to minimize the risk of losing contact with the ground. World-class racewalkers (male and female) can average under four and five minutes per kilometre in a 20-km racewalk. [6]

Distances

Shaul Ladany (centre), in 1969 Flickr - Government Press Office (GPO) - The Winners of the 10,000 M Walk.jpg
Shaul Ladany (centre), in 1969

Races have been walked at distances as short as 3 kilometres (1.9 mi)—at the 1920 Summer Olympics—and as long as 100 km (62.1 mi). The men's world record for the 50-mile race walk is held by Israeli Shaul Ladany, whose time of 7:23:50 in 1972 beat the world record that had stood since 1935. [7] The modern Olympic events are the 20 km (12.4 mi) race walk (men and women) and 50 km (31 mi) race walk (men only). One example of a longer racewalking competition is the annual Paris-Colmar which is 450 to 500 km.
Indoor races are 3000 m and 5000 m.

Judges

A racewalker "flying" (entirely out of contact with the ground, a rule violation) Racewalker (legs only) not in contact with the ground.jpg
A racewalker "flying" (entirely out of contact with the ground, a rule violation)

There are judges on the course to monitor form. Three judges submitting "red cards" for violations results in disqualification of the competitor. There is a scoreboard placed on the course so competitors can see their violation status. If the third violation is received, the chief judge removes the competitor from the course by showing a red paddle. For monitoring reasons, races are held on a looped course or on a track so judges get to see competitors several times during a race. A judge could also "caution" a competitor that he or she is in danger of losing form by showing a paddle that indicates either losing contact or bent knees. No judge may submit more than one card for each walker and the chief judge may not submit any cards; it is his or her job only to disqualify the offending walker. Disqualifications are routine at the elite level, such as the famous case of Jane Saville, disqualified within sight of a gold medal in front of her home crowd in the 2000 Summer Olympics, or Yet Lyu, disqualified 20 meters before the finish line at the 2017 World Championships in Athletics.

Beginning

The start of the 3500 m walk final, 1908 Olympics 1908 3500 metre walk final.JPG
The start of the 3500 m walk final, 1908 Olympics

Racewalking developed as one of the original track and field events of the first meeting of the English Amateur Athletics Association in 1880. The first racewalking codes came from an attempt to regulate rules for popular 19th-century long-distance competitive walking events, called pedestrianism. Pedestrianism had developed, like footraces and horse racing, as a popular working class British and American pastime, and a venue for wagering. Walkers organised the first English amateur walking championship in 1866, which was won by John Chambers, and judged by the "fair heel and toe" rule. This rather vague code was the basis for the rules codified at the first Championships Meeting in 1880 of the Amateur Athletics Association in England, the birth of modern athletics. With football (soccer), cricket, and other sports codified in the 19th century, the transition from professional pedestrianism to amateur racewalking was, while relatively late, part of a process of regularisation occurring in most modern sports at this time.

Olympics

Racewalking is an Olympic athletics (track and field) event with distances of 20 kilometres for both men and women and 50 kilometres for men only. Racewalking first appeared in the modern Olympics in 1904 as a half-mile walk in the 'all-rounder,' the precursor to the 10-event decathlon. In 1908, stand-alone 1,500m and 3,000m racewalks were added, and—excluding 1924—there has been at least one racewalk (for men) in every Olympics since. The women's racewalk became an Olympic event only in 1992, following years of active lobbying by female internationals. A World Cup in racewalking is held biennially, and racewalk events appear in the World Athletics Championships, the Commonwealth Games and the Pan American Games, among others.

World Race Walking Challenge

Since 2003, the IAAF has organised the IAAF Race Walking Challenge, an annual worldwide competition series in which elite athletes accumulate points for the right to compete in the IAAF Race Walking Challenge Final and to share over US$200,000 of prize money. The series of televised events takes place in several countries each year including Mexico, Spain, Russia and China. [8]

High school

Racewalking is sometimes included in high school indoor and outdoor track meets, the rules often more relaxed. The distances walked tend to be relatively short, with the 1500 m being the most commonly held event. Racing also occurs at 3 km, 5 km and 10 km, with records kept and annual rankings published. [9]

Top performers

Men

20 km

MarkAthleteNationalityVenueDateRef
1:16:36 Yusuke Suzuki Flag of Japan.svg  Japan Nomi, Ishikawa March 15, 2015
1:16:43 # [10] Sergey Morozov Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Saransk June 8, 2008
1:17:02 Yohann Diniz Flag of France.svg  France Arles, France March 8, 2015
1:17:16 Vladimir Kanaykin Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Saransk September 28, 2007
1:17:21 Jefferson Pérez Flag of Ecuador.svg  Ecuador Paris August 23, 2003
1:17:22 Paquillo Fernández Flag of Spain.svg  Spain Turku April 28, 2002
1:17:23 Vladimir Stankin Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Adler February 8, 2004
1:17:25 Bernardo Segura Flag of Mexico.svg  Mexico Bergen May 7, 1994
1:17:30 Alex Schwazer Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Lugano March 18, 2012
1:17:33 Nathan Deakes Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Cixi City April 23, 2005
1:17:36 Zhen Wang Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Taicang March 30, 2012
1:17:38 Valeriy Borchin Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Adler February 28, 2009

50 km

MarkAthleteNationalityVenueDateRef
3:32:33 Yohann Diniz Flag of France.svg  France Zurich 15 August 2014 [11]
3:34:14 Denis Nizhegorodov Flag of Russia.svg  Russia Cheboksary 11 May 2008 [12]
3:34:38 Matej Tóth Flag of Slovakia.svg  Slovakia Dudince 21 March 2015 [13]
3:35:47 Nathan Deakes Flag of Australia (converted).svg  Australia Geelong 2 December 2006
3:35:59 Sergey Kirdyapkin Flag of Russia.svg  Russia London 11 August 2012
3:36:03 Robert Korzeniowski Flag of Poland.svg  Poland Paris 27 August 2003
3:36:04 Alex Schwazer Flag of Italy.svg  Italy Rosignano Solvay 11 February 2007
3:36:06 Yu Chaohong Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Nanjing 22 October 2005
3:36:13 Zhao Chengliang Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Nanjing 22 October 2005
3:36:20 Han Yucheng Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China Nanjing 27 February 2005

Women

20 km

As of June 2019

RankTimeAthleteNationalityDatePlaceRef
11:23:391 Elena Lashmanova Flag of Russia.svg Russia9 June 2018Cheboksary [14]
21:24:38 Liu Hong Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China6 June 2015 A Coruña [15]
31:24:47 Elmira Alembekova Flag of Russia.svg Russia27 February 2015 Sochi [16]
41:24:501 Olimpiada Ivanova Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 4 March 2001 Adler
51:24:56 Olga Kaniskina Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 28 February 2009 Adler
61:25:03 Marina Pandakova Flag of Russia.svg Russia27 February 2015 Sochi [16]
71:25:04 Svetlana Vasilyeva Flag of Russia.svg Russia27 February 2015 Sochi [16]
81:25:08 Vera Sokolova Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 26 February 2011 Sochi
91:25:09 Anisya Kirdyapkina Flag of Russia.svg  Russia 26 February 2011 Sochi
101:25:12 Lü Xiuzhi Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 20 March 2015 Beijing

1 : These times were achieved without the presence of international judges to officiate the competition or post-race doping tests, thus making them invalid for world record status. However, they are accepted as personal best marks for those athletes.

50 km

The women's 50 km walk is a new event, having been controversially added to the World Athletics Championships for the first time in 2017. [17]

As of May 2019:

RankTimeAthleteNationalityDatePlaceRef
13:59:15 Liu Hong Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China9 March 2019Huangshan [18]
24:03:51 Li Maocuo Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China9 March 2019Huangshan [19]
34:04:36 Liang Rui Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China5 May 2018Taicang [20]
44:04:50 Eleonora Giorgi Flag of Italy.svg Italy19 May 2019 Alytus [21]
54:05:46 Júlia Takács Flag of Spain.svg Spain19 May 2019 Alytus [21]
64:05:56 Inês Henriques Flag of Portugal.svg  Portugal 13 August 2017 London [22]
74:07:30 Ma Faying Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China9 March 2019Huangshan [19]
84:08:58 Yin Hang Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg China13 August 2017London [22]
94:09:33 Claire Tallent Flag of Australia (converted).svg Australia5 May 2018Taicang [20]
104:10:59 Monica Svensson Flag of Sweden.svg Sweden21 October 2007 Scanzorosciate

Racewalking is sometimes derided as a contrived or "artificial" sport. [2] In 1992 long-time Olympic commentator Bob Costas compared it to "a contest to see who can whisper the loudest". [23]

In Malcolm in the Middle season 4 episode "Malcolm Holds His Tongue", Hal gets into the sport and exposes his local park rival as 'nothing but a common jogger' by proving that both of his feet leave the ground at once every fourth step.

In the 1966 film Walk, Don't Run , Jim Hutton plays a racewalker competing in the Tokyo Olympics. Cary Grant and Samantha Eggar co-star.

See also

Related Research Articles

Sport of athletics Sports involving running, jumping, throwing and walking

Athletics is a group of sporting events that involves competitive running, jumping, throwing, and walking. The most common types of athletics competitions are track and field, road running, cross country running, and racewalking.

World Athletics Challenge - Race Walking

The World Athletics Challenge - Race Walking is a racewalking series organised by World Athletics. Athletes accumulate points in specific race walk meetings during the season. Performances in 10 kilometres race walk, 20 kilometres race walk and 50 kilometres race walk count towards athlete's final scores. Since 2011, racewalking performances at the World Athletics Championships and Olympic Games count towards the series. Women have competed in the 50 km distance since 2018.

Pedestrianism 19th-century competitive walking contest

Pedestrianism was a 19th-century form of competitive walking, often professional and funded by wagering, from which the modern sport of racewalking developed.

Claire Woods, born 6 July 1981 in Adelaide, South Australia) is an Australian racewalker.

20 kilometres race walk

The 20 kilometre race walk is an Olympic athletics event that is competed by both men and women. The racewalking event is competed as a road race. Athletes must always keep in contact with the ground and the supporting leg must remain straight until the raised leg passes it. 20 kilometres is 12.4274 miles.

Masumi Fuchise (渕瀬 真寿美) is a Japanese racewalker. She was seventh at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics and is a two-time Asian Race Walking Champion. In 2009, she set the Japanese record for the 20 kilometres race walk event. She also won the silver medal at the 2009 Summer Universiade.

50 kilometres race walk

The 50 kilometre race walk is an Olympic athletics event. The racewalking event is competed as a road race. Athletes must always keep in contact with the ground and the supporting leg must remain straight until the raised leg passes it. Fifty kilometres is approximately 31 miles.

Erick Barrondo Guatemalan racewalker

Erick Bernabé Barrondo García is a Guatemalan racewalker who competes in the 20 km walk and 50 km walk events. He won the silver medal at the Men's 20km Racewalk in the 2012 Summer Olympics, the first Olympic medal in Guatemala's history.

Andrés Chocho Ecuadorian race walker

Cristian Andrés Chocho León is an Ecuadorian race walker who competes in both the 20 km and 50 km walk events. He is the South American record holder in the 50 km and 20,000 metres walking events.

10 kilometres race walk

The 10 kilometres race walk, or 10-kilometer racewalk, is a racewalking event. The event is competed as a road race. Athletes must always keep in contact with the ground and the supporting leg must remain straight until the raised leg passes it. 10 kilometers is 6.21 miles.

Race walking at the Olympics

Race walking events at the Summer Olympics have been contested over a variety of distances at the multi-sport event. There are three race walking events in the current Olympic athletics programme: a men's and a women's 20 kilometres walk, and a men's 50 kilometres walk. The races are held in a final-only format.

Dane Bird-Smith Australian racewalker

Dane Alex Bird-Smith is an Australian racewalking athlete. He competes in the 20 kilometres race walk and has a best of 1:19:28 hours for the distance, set in 2017. He competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics, where he was the bronze medallist. Bird-Smith represented Australia at the World Championships in Athletics three times and has appeared four times at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships/Cup.

Marion Fawkes is a British former racewalker. She was the first official female world champion in racewalking through her victory at the 1979 IAAF World Race Walking Cup. She broke four world records in her career.

Raquel González Campos is an Olympic Athlete from Spain and represents Futbol Club Barcelona. She competed in the Women's 20 kilometres walk event at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) 2016 and 2015 World Championships in Athletics in Beijing, China and World Championship 2019 in Doha, Qatar. She's bronze medal in European Cup 20km racewalker, Alytus 2019 and Top 8 World Ranking 50km racewalker, 2019.

Manish Singh Rawat is a male Indian racewalker. He competes in the 20 km and the 50 km events and is employed by the Uttarakhand State Police. He has been part of the Indian racewalking squad for the past 3 years.

Åke Söderlund Swedish racewalker

Åke Wilhelm Söderlund was a Swedish racewalking athlete. He competed at the 1952, 1960 and 1964 Summer Olympics with the best result of 18th place in the 20 km event in 1964.

2016 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships

The 2016 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships was the 27th edition of the global team racewalking competition organised by the International Association of Athletics Federations. It was held in Rome, Italy from 7 to 8 May 2016. It was the first edition of the tournament under its new name, having previously been known as the IAAF World Race Walking Cup since 1989.

Vitaliy Popovich is a Ukrainian male former racewalking athlete who competed in the 50 kilometres race walk. He competed in the men's 50 kilometres walk at the 1988 Summer Olympics, representing the Soviet Union, and in the same event at the 1996 Summer Olympics, representing Ukraine. He was a three-time participant at the World Championships in Athletics, with a best of fourth at the 1991 event. He also competed at five straight editions of the IAAF World Race Walking Cup from 1989 to 1997. He set a personal best of 3:43:57 hours for the distance in 1989.

Klavdiya Afanasyeva Russian racewalker

Klavdiya Afanasyeva is a Russian racewalker. She won gold medals in the European U20 and U23 championships in the 10,000 m race walk and 20 km race walk respectively. Though she has never tested positive for an anti-doping violation, in May 2018 she was suspended from international competition due to participating in a training camp including banned coach Viktor Chegin.

Liang Rui is a female Chinese racewalking athlete who competes in the 20 kilometres and 50 kilometres race walk. She was the world record holder for the 50 km walk event and was a gold medalist at the 2018 IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships. In 2019 her record was beaten by Hong Liu with a time of 3:59:15. In the same year, she finished outside the top ten in the IAAF Challenge races in Taicang and La Coruña, and was seventh in a national 50 km meeting.

References

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  10. not ratified by IAAF because it didn’t fulfil the criteria of having the required three international judges present
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