As evident from the name, race walking is a track and field event in which competitors attempt to outrace one another without running. This event requires no specialized equipment except for the shoes.
Race walking established itself as a field event in the 1880s. The first-ever codes of race walking came from an effort to regulate rules for the famous 19th century long-distance walking events known as Pedestrianism.
Competitive Race walking event distances range from 3 kilometers up to 100 km. Race walking has been on the Olympic program since 1908 (in 1904 a walking race was part of a decathlon-type event). The current Olympic distance is 20 km for both men and women, and a new mixed team marathon relay will be held in Paris 2024.
The two main rules ensure that the competitors do not run:
The first rule is that the back toe of the participant must not leave the ground unless the heel of the front foot touches the ground.
The second rule is that the supporting leg should straighten from the point of contact with the ground and stay like that until the body passes directly over it.
These rules are judged simply by the human eye. Speed is achieved by stepping quickly to ensure rapid turnover. This reduces the chance of feet leaving the ground.
- Track and Field Endurance Running — track and field running races over distances of 3kms and greater
- The sport of Running
- About Fell Running
- Cross-Country Running
- More about the extinct sport of Pedestrianism
- More track and field events
- Complete list of sports
- The Encyclopedia of Sports