What is Race Walking?

This is a Competitive Sport That has Ground Rules That Define Race Walking.

  1. The straight leg/knee rule. The advancing leg is straightened, at the knee, at the time of contact and remains straightened until passing under the hip. This differentiates race walking from other walking styles and running. In running or jogging the knee is flexed or slightly bent.

  2. The contact rule. One foot maintains contact with the ground at all times. This means the advancing foot of the walker makes contact with the ground just prior to the rear foot leaving the ground. There is no 'flight phase' as in running or jogging.

You don't need to walk competitively to gain benefits from race walking. Race walking is a technical walk, not easily acquired without instruction, however, easily enjoyed once learned. If you want more benefits, become faster, or try something new, then consider taking your next steps as a race walker.

I discovered race walking 22 years ago. I was first introduced to it in 1989, during the Portland Marathon 5-miler. Was this something I could do? Yes, it was. By learning race walking, I improved my fitness level and discovered I was competitive in nature and could be competitive in walking.

What a thrill. Race walking offers an activity for a life time. You're never too old to discover what you can do. 

Recently, I competed in a judged 1-mile racewalk and 5K at Hayward Classic. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered I set meet records for my age group (65 to 69) by walking the mile in 9:59 and the 5K in 32:10.

Several Portlanders will be traveling to Sacramento for the World Masters Athletics competitions to compete in the 5K, 10K, and/or 20K racewalk with walkers from around the world. I am looking forward to joining in the effort and fun this summer.

Active logoSign up for a walking event.

Judy Heller, founder of Wonders of Walking LLC, advocates walking for well being and pleasure. Wonders of Walking promotes Walking Events for Walkers by Walkers. Judy Heller is founder and owner of EroFit & Associates, LLC, celebrating Fitness for a Lifetime. Heller offers personalized fitness training and coaching for individuals and groups. Contact: Judy Heller at 503-282-1677:
  • 2
  • of
  • 2

Discuss This Article