That's a Thing? Speedwalking Edition
Welcome to the newest column of the Skidmore News: “That’s a Thing?” This column will be used to cover the wildest, strangest, and mostly unheard of sports and leisure activities. To start things off, we are focusing on Speedwalking. Also known as racewalking, this event takes place on the grandest of scales: the Olympics. Contestants typically walk distances ranging from 3000m to 100km, however, in the Olympics, there are two distances: 20km and 50km. Both men and women compete in the 20km, but only men compete in the 50km race at the Olympics.
There are only two rules in speedwalking. The first rule is that the back toe of a walker cannot leave the ground until the walker’s front heel has touched the ground. The second rule is that the supporting leg must straighten from the point of contact with the ground and remain straightened until the body passes directly over it. Runners utilize a very compact stride with a low arm pump in order to maintain the maximum amount of speed. This stride looks very odd to the unaided human eye. Apparently world-class speedwalkers can average under 4-5 minutes per kilometer in a 20km race. The current world records for the 20km race are 1:16:36 by Japan’s Yusuki Suzuki for men and 1:24:38 by China’s Liu Hong for women. The world record for the 50 km race is 3:32:33 by France’s Yohann Diniz.
Overall, speedwalking takes an everyday activity and makes it faster and more competitive. Imagine if you could get from your dorm room to class in a quicker time; all you need to do is change the way you walk and speed up and you will be just fine.
For a further explanation and/or some clarification on speedwalking, click here.