Walking rules and Wearing of “W”s

Taken from newsletter by Gerhard at walking@webmail.co.za or Hettie at (011)9763061 or 0829230831

Race Walking was introduced in the Olympics in 1908 and the Commonwealth Games since 1966. The standard Olympic road walking distances of 20km and 50km have been contested at each Olympics since 1956; the women compete at 10km. These race walking distances have been part of each World Championships in Athletics. The women’s walking event was extended from 10km to 20km for the 1999 World Championships. During the17th and18th centuries, many footmen would run or walk by the side of their masters’ coaches. At the time, it was called pedestrianism and it became very popular with races over 24 hours and even 6 days. Before long, people started betting on the walkers, their times and the distance. Race walking was born! In the19th century, it soon spread to Europe and later to America and Russia. The Rules of racewalking. “Race walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. The advancing leg must be straightened (ie not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until in the vertical position” Translated, this means that contact must be maintained at all times (the difference between walking and running). The supporting leg must be straight at the knee from the moment of foot contact with the ground until it passes under the body (ie the leg must be straight). When walking or strolling, the leg normally bends at the knee.

We would like to encourage all walkers to wear something that indicates that they are walkers during races. The standard is a red “W” on both the front and back of the vest or T-shirt. Even if you draw a big “W” on your temporary license number it would help. KZN requires walkers to display a red “Walker” – word written out not only “W”. It would be best not to use “S” or “Stapper” as the “S” could be confused with senior.

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