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All about race walking

Race walking
what is race walking?


Race walking is

  • An Internationally recognised athletics discipline.
  • An event included in the Olympic Games programme. Olympic distances: 20km (Men and Women) and 50km (Men Only)
  • Race walking is a technical sport.   This means athletes must follow the rules as determined by the sport's governing bodies ie World Athletics (fornerly IAAF -International Amateur Athletics Association) and by the individual country athletic bodies.



Definition of Race Walking: World Athletics Technical Rules, Rule 54.2
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 (i.e. not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the vertical upright position.

The World Athletics/IAAF Rules of Competition cover the whole spectrum of athletics- much of which is devoted to the "high end" of international competition - track & field, road races, etc. But we need to be sure that we all comply with the rules - whether we are competing in or organising a race.   
See the World Athletic - Technical Rules [ Part VI pages 116-124 relates to Race Walking].
Note that the IAAF has now changed its name to World Athletics - See our News page

Most countries operate under the international definition and adhere to the World Athletic  rules. Plus their national athletic/race walking rules. [World Athletics cover races up 100km and not 100 miles or 24hours....]
The UK operates under the rules of the race walking governing body- the Race Walking Association (RWA) in conjunction with England Athletics which in turn operates under the World Athletics rules and regulations.
Most other countries operate a similar governing structure. But it is always best to check the rules before you compete!

more on what you need to know about
race walking


  • why walk? looks at nordic walking, speed walking and  of course race walking!
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