Race Walking – the forgotten Olympic Sport

Let me explain why I wrote my latest Olympic Story on the topic of Race Walking.

Race Walking
1987 World Cup Trials
Some months ago I met an 82 year-old man at the communal breakfast table, while staying in a B&B on one of my walking trips. He listened attentively to my tales of walking-round-the-coast and seemed politely impressed by my achievements. Then he mentioned he had done some walking himself, in his younger days.

But it turns out that he was no ordinary countryside rambler. No. Ronald was a race walker.

Race walking? I had forgotten about this particular sport: a gruelling race where the competitors walk as fast as they can without running, and adopt a curious hip rolling gait so as to achieve maximum speed while never allowing both feet to leave the ground at the same time.

Ronald Davies was an amateur competitor who raced over all distances and was good enough to compete internationally. His brother supported him on a bike and supplied him with drinks and wet sponges.

When I met him last autumn, Ronald was still walking daily on a treadmill, while waiting for a hip replacement. His walking rate was still twice as fast as mine.

I made him the subject of my latest Olympic Story for the BT Storytellers project.

Race wakjubg
You can find out more information about race walking:
Facebook Group

Author: Ruth Livingstone

Walker, writer, photographer, blogger, doctor, woman, etc.

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