Walking (sport)

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Walker European Cup 2015 (from right to left): Miguel López, Spain - Alexander Iwanow, Russia - Yohann Diniz, France

Walking is an Olympic , athletic discipline in which, in contrast to running, there must be no loss of contact with the ground that is visible to the human eye. In addition, the striding (front) leg must be stretched when touching the floor - i.e. H. Not bent at the knee (Rule 230 of the IWR - International Competition Rules). This leads to the hip movement that is so striking for walkers.


As yet unknown participants in a walking competition after the start - photography by Jochen Mellin , undated

In 1682 there was a walking competition in London , which consisted of five hours of continuous walking.

Walking was a popular spectator sport in Great Britain in the 18th and 19th centuries . One of the most famous pedestrians was Captain Robert Barclay Allardice , known as the "Celebrated Pedestrian" of Stonehaven . He set his greatest record between June 1 and July 12, 1809, when he managed to cover an English mile in 1000 consecutive hours . About 10,000 spectators were present at this event. Even if pedestrian sport lost its importance in the 20th century, walking still exists as an Olympic sport. In addition, the Land's End to John o 'Groats walk is a traditional sporting event in England .

The 50-km walk was in 1932 and the 20-km walk 1956 olympic. In 1992 women went to the Olympic program.


Competitions are held on the street for men mostly over 20 km and 50 km . For women, the route is usually twenty kilometers. One usually walks on 1 to 2.5 km long round or turning point routes. In addition, track competitions over various distances from 5 km are common. Usually the distances for road competitions are given in kilometers, for track competitions in meters. Accordingly, 20 km refers to a street walking competition, while 20,000 m refers to a train walking competition.

Track length at German championships

The lengths of the competitions for German championships are an example of the different lengths of walking sport . The first distance over which a German championship title was awarded was street walking over 100 km, which was included in the championship program from 1906 to 1912, but never took place on the same date and in the same place as the other competitions. Winning times of more than eleven hours were common. From 1920 onwards, walking was instead carried out over the 50 km distance to this day . The number of participants on this route has fallen sharply in recent years, so that a team ranking with the three best walkers of a team is no longer possible (last time in 2002 ).

As a shorter road distance, a competition over 20 km was initially added in 1933 and 1934 . This in turn was replaced by a competition over 25 km from 1942 to 1953, before returning to the 20 km customary internationally from 1955 until today .

In addition to the street walking competitions, the championship program also included a train walking competition from 1910 , with major interruptions . Initially, from 1910 to 1913, the route covered was 3000 meters long. In 1921 and 1922 5000 meters were walked, from 1938 to 1954 and then again from 2000 the 10,000 meters. There is only a team rating for street walkers, it was introduced in 1927 .

Championship competitions in women's walking have existed in the DLV area since 1980 . From 1980 to 1986 a 5 km street walk was held, from 1987 to 1997 the distance was doubled to 10 km . In 1998 the distance was further doubled to 20 km, which is still the standard today, as is the international standard. Rail walks over a length of 5000 meters have existed since 1990 , with 10,000 meters being walked in 1998 and 1999 before returning to the 5000 meters. A team ranking on the street was taken into account from the start, but there were always years in which no team ranking was made due to a lack of participants.

In recent decades, the walking competitions on the road and on the track have been almost completely separated from the rest of the German Athletics Championships, as has always been the case with long road distances, but this inevitably led to less interest from viewers and the media.

Warning notices, red cards, stay zone for time penalties and disqualifications

If compliance with the above-mentioned “ground contact” and “knee extension” provisions are at risk, the judges can notify the athletes of this once with a so-called “warning” by means of a yellow trowel indicating the offense concerned (wavy line = loss of ground contact, angle = lack of extension ).

In addition, the judges can issue a red card. The red card is not shown to the athlete by the individual judge, but rather communicated to the judge chairman as an "application for disqualification". For the information of the athletes (and spectators), the respective number and the reason for the red cards are displayed on a board. At international events, handheld computers must be used to communicate with the judge steward and the disqualification request board.

Usually, the walker is disqualified by the umpire (or one of his assistants) after three red cards by various judges. The disqualification is indicated by a red trowel, whereupon the walker must immediately end the competition and leave the competition course. In competitions on the street, walkers must also remove their start numbers.

Since the change in the International Competition Rules to 2016, a stay zone for time penalties according to rule 230.7 c) has been introduced. If the regulations of this event provide for such a residence zone, it is mandatory for all walking competitions. However, it can also be used in other competitions after the relevant association organization or the organizing committee (organizer) has made a decision.

When using the lounge area, an athlete who has collected three red cards will be instructed by the head judge or a person entrusted to him (i.e. possibly one of his assistants) to enter the lounge area. There he has to spend a penalty period, which was determined with the rule change to 2018 as follows:

  • Competitions up to 5 km: 30 seconds penalty time
  • Competitions up to 10 km: 1 minute penalty time
  • Competitions up to 20 km: 2 minutes penalty time
  • Competitions up to 30 km: 3 minutes penalty time
  • Competitions up to 40 km: 4 minutes penalty time
  • Competitions up to 50 km: 5 minutes penalty time

If at any time the athlete receives another red card from a judge who has not yet issued a red card, the athlete will be disqualified. He will also be disqualified by the umpire if he refuses to go to the time penalties zone despite being instructed or if he does not spend the specified time in the stay zone.

In international competitions, the head judge also has the right to disqualify a walker within the last 100 meters before the finish regardless of the number of red cards present (almost without authorization). He may only do this, however, if the athlete's walking style obviously violates the rules, e.g. B. if the walker runs or jogs and no longer walks. In such a case, the walker may end the competition; he will then be informed of his disqualification immediately after the finish.

Based on the three red cards that are necessary for a disqualification, at least three, and if the stay zone for time penalties is used, where the fourth red card leads to disqualification, at least four judges must be present. In Germany (events up to German championships) no two judges may belong to the same club, i. This means that all officiating court judges must come from different associations. At regional or world championships or events organized by a regional or world association, no two judges may belong to the same nation.

Compliance with the walking rules

As already explained above, the competition regulations for walking clearly stipulate not only knee extension with every step, but also that at no time should both feet lose contact with the ground, which is noticeable to the human eye.

Adherence to these rules is monitored by judges who issue appropriate warnings in the event of violations and indicate this to the athlete on appropriate boards. However, it is extremely difficult to detect violations with the naked eye, which is particularly true for the problem of constant contact with the ground. In slow motion recordings - for example from the 2015 World Championships - it becomes clear that the athletes are constantly losing contact with the ground, similar to running, without any consequence. This development mainly began in the 1980s. It was not for nothing that there were leaps and bounds in the world's best performances. Overall, the rate of increase in the world records is significantly higher than in other disciplines.

Ways out of this problem are not easy, but the topic cannot be excluded without further consideration. It is a question of limit value and by defining human perception as a criterion, there is a great deal of subjectivity in the judges' assessment of compliance with the rules. Controversial decisions in favor or to the disadvantage of walkers, the feeling of unjust disadvantage are consequences that often occur and remain unexplained.

See also

Individual evidence

  1. a b International Competition Rules of the IAAF (IWR) 2016/2017, page 180 (PDF), accessed on October 29, 2018
  2. Picture of Captain Barcley as part of his walking record ( memento of the original from September 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.npg.org.uk
  3. German Athletics Association : Change of rules IWR 2018. November 21, 2017, accessed on April 2, 2018 .
  4. IAAF World Championships Beijing 2015 - Day 2 Highlights , video excerpt: Area 9:53 min to 9:57 min on youtube.com, live broadcast from August 23, 2015, accessed on October 29, 2018
  5. Race Walking or Race Jogging, 20km 'Walk' IAAF Champs, Beijing, Aug, 2015 , video on youtube.com, published August 30, 2015, accessed October 29, 2018

Web links

Commons : Walking  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files