What is Racewalking?
By Sahar Ali
Volume 3 Issue 3
February 24, 2023
(L to R) Emma Barbosa, Sahar Ali and Hailey Quinlan. Sahar is Conference Champion, took second place in county meet, and holds VSN record for tenth fastest all-time with a 9:48.88 time in the 1500m racewalk.
Racewalking: I’m sure you’ve heard of it somewhere or maybe even seen it during the Olympic games. It may look like a piece of cake. However, it’s a challenging sport. Racewalking is a long-distance race in which athletes must walk instead of run. It sounds as though athletes walk during the race; however, there are a few rules in this sport that make it very tricky.
Racewalking is different from running because a racewalker must always remain in contact with the ground. The leg in the front must stay straight until it passes underneath the body. Form and technique are essential for a racewalker since athletes can get penalized for a bent knee or losing contact with the ground.
Here at VSN, the Winter Track Team consists of racewalkers. This year, they had the unique opportunity to be coached by Emilija Vaskyte, a national racewalk champion and VSN alumni. Navrosedip Kundlas, one of the VSN racewalkers’ captains, is one of the best at what she does. Here are some questions we were able to ask her:
Q: What made you choose racewalking as your event?
A: “I love running long distances, so when I first came into track, I wanted to do long distance. However, I just wasn’t ready. When I first heard of racewalking, I immediately searched it up on Google and it seemed interesting. So, the next day I went to Frazer and said, ‘I want to be a racewalker.’ And that’s where it all began.”
Q: What’s your favorite part about racewalking?
A: “That’s a hard one. There are so many great things about racewalking, but my favorite is the feeling. It feels like I’m flying on top of clouds. It makes me feel like I can do anything.”
Q: How hard would you say racewalking is on a scale of 1-10?
A: “It varies by my day but on average for me, I would say an 8. Racewalking is different for everyone and for me while I do struggle a little with my form, my speed, stamina, and fitness help balance it out.”
Q: How does it feel to be captain and teach girls how to racewalk?
A: “It feels great! I love co-captaining as it gives me a sense of responsibility and maturity. Teaching my fellow racewalkers makes me feel good, as I was one of them last year. It shows how far I have come. I was in their shoes last year and I know it’s not always easy, so motivating my squad is always essential.”
Q: What is your favorite part about being captain?
A: “Honestly, my favorite part would be getting to coach the girls. I love helping and teaching others especially at things I am good at. I love the fact that I can pass on my skills to someone else. Making someone else feel accomplished makes me feel accomplished. At the end of the day, I’m proud to be part of such an amazing team of girls.”
Q: What has racewalking taught you?
A: “Racewalking has taught me many things in the aspect of life. I have learned to never give up even when it seems impossible. To be committed and work hard. As Boyens says, ‘No pain, no gain.’ Track teaches you how to be prepared for the real life, how to handle stress and how to release your stress as well. It’s what Frazer always tells me, ‘Track prepares you for the real world.’”
Q: Would you recommend others to try racewalking?
A: “If I’m to be honest, it would depend on the person. Racewalking doesn’t always click with everyone. Especially if you don’t work hard. You need to be committed and you need to believe in yourself. If you’re willing to try something new, I would definitely recommend. Racewalking is fun whether you do it for competition or just as exercise. It’s definitely worth a shot if you put your mind to it!”