Walking

While walking by itself does not seem like it would lend itself well to a sporting event, racewalking has become a fairly popular sport. The main difference between running and racewalking is in the form and movement of the feet. In racewalking, the toe of the trailing foot cannot leave the ground until the heel of the forward foot has come down.

Racewalkers try to keep low to the ground. Some forms will not allow the knees to be completely straightened and the pumping action of the arms near the hip level gives them the speed needed.

Racewalking is usually held on a circular or looped track and a chief judge and three assistants will maintain watch over the competitors for any violations of form. Three violations in a race will result in a disqualification. The higher up in the ranks you go the more need to maintain form as the violations are more stridently enforced.

Olympic racewalking has two major events. There is a 20 kilometer course competition for both men and women and a grueling 50 kilometer course set up especially for the male competitors. It is not a slow race by any means as a good racewalker can cover a mile (1.6 km) in about six minutes. Racewalkers are very particular that their sport is not confused with "speedwalking" as that is considered an exercise and not a sporting event.

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