The Berlin 2018 European Athletics Championships 20km Race Walk, featuring Welsh athletes Bethan Davies and Heather Lewis.
Race walking is a technical endurance event contested at all levels of athletic competition from Schools right up to the Olympics. Races take place both on the track and the road and the standard championship and international distances are; 20km and 50km for Seniors, 10km for U20 and U23, 5km for U17 and between 1-3km for Schools. Races over other distances are also contested in a number of track championships and leagues.
Race walking has specific rules about the walking action that competitors must follow throughout competition.
There are two rules;
- Contact: Steps must be taken without any visible loss of contact (to the human eye).
- Straight leg: The leg must be straightened from the moment of first contact with the ground until in the vertical upright position (no bent knee).
Specifically qualified judges monitor athlete’s compliance to these rules. If you are interested in becoming a race walk judge please click here. Full details on the rules are available in the UKA Rules of Competition (Rule 230).
Watch Bethan Davies, the 2018 Commonwealth Games Bronze Medallist, explain the rules and what it takes to become a good race walker.
Want to give it a go?
If you’re interested in giving race walking a go approach your local club. The principles of race walk training are very similar to that of endurance running and all qualified athletics coaches should be aware of the basics. Mastering the race walk technique can take time but once grasped an athlete if fully able to push on their fitness on by race walking alone.
Within Wales race walking appears both in the Junior and Senior Welsh Championships. They also feature in the Welsh League and many Schools competitions. For upcoming races within Wales see the competition calendar. For a full list of race walk events across the UK please click here.