By Navrosedip Kundlas
Volume 2 Issue 3
January 14, 2022
Original photography by Michael Frazer
Walking?...in Track? That’s a big no-no. In Winter Track, there are many different events one can try. There are distance and middle-distance runners, sprinters, jumpers, throwers, pole-vaulters, and racewalkers. Now, wait. You might be slightly confused. If you have never heard of racewalking, you have no idea what I’m talking about. However, racewalking isn’t walking. Not precisely.
The first thing to know about racewalking is that it is not just speed walking. The most critical part of racewalking is the form. You start on your heel to racewalk and roll your foot to your toe. It’s not as complicated as it sounds, but it is just as hard as it looks; trust me, I’m a racewalker, and it’s no piece of cake. There are only two rules that can get one disqualified. The first rule is: one foot must always contact with the ground at all times. If not, then you aren’t walking; you’re running. If this occurs during a race, one of the officials will show you a yellow paddle. This paddle will have a squiggly line on it, and the judge will give you a penalty. The second rule is the “no-bent knee” rule. When you land on your foot, your knee must be straight and stay straight until the other foot lands. If you have a bent knee, the judge will show you another yellow paddle with a sideways “L” on it. If you reach three penalties of any kind, the judge will show you a red paddle and remove you from the race. This is a disqualification, which means you have no place in the race; it doesn’t count. Besides the form, speed is also key to racewalking. If you aren’t keeping up a good pace, you can receive a disqualification for taking too long. After all, there are other events in a track meet.
Some important things to know: The racewalk is typically either the first or last race in a meet. This means that the meet ends promptly. Additionally, there’s only racewalk for girls at the high school level, though boys may compete beyond high school. Racewalk at the high school level occurs only during the Indoor Track and Field season. If you walk for the VSN Track team, here’s a couple of tips from a racewalker. As Frazer, one of the VSN coaches, always says, “The faster you go, the better your form.” This is true, but you should also note that speed will always follow form. Only with the correct form will you succeed in racewalking. Otherwise, you will get disqualified no matter how fast you go.
Racewalking is excellent exercise and will keep your health up. Watch a video and learn the basics. If you do not compete, it will still be a wonderful experience. As one of the best racewalkers and mentors, Eva Grace Martinez always says, “It’s an enjoyable event, and I’ve grown to love it more as the years have passed.”