The road leaders and managers of various RWFL branches in the area were invited to a walking clinic, held at the branch I go to in Randpark Ridge, yesterday morning. Rene asked me to bring my camera along, so of course it needs a story too 😉
I found it fascinating!
Two top SA race walkers, Lesley van Buuren and Kevin Philips, held the walking clinic, to teach everyone how to race walk. Not only that, but they explained the rules of race walking, showed us new warm-up exercises and took us, step-by-step, through getting the right posture, and right foot placement to race walk.
I did enjoy the warm-up exercises that they demonstrated, and I’m hoping that Rene remembers them so that we can do them at our branch 😉
I didn’t know that race walking courses are normally pretty flat, so when race walkers do road running races, it’s very difficult to keep their race walking stride on the hilly courses we tend to run. Race walking is not really conducive to the steep gradients because you have to keep your front leg’s knee straight… you try it on a hill… that’s impossibly IMO.
When they have the proper race walking races, there are 8 judges that are around the 1km course to check on your form. And the rules about form are pretty strict!
Your arm movements are very important, and even getting that right will speed up your walking. They spoke a lot about people who flap their arms around, instead of swinging them properly facing forwards!
Then everyone learnt how to kick off the back foot, giving you more forward momentum…
Race walking is pretty hectic, using your hips, arms and feet to get your speed going
Lesley was saying that she WALKS 5km in 26 minutes!! My oath, that’s fast!
And actually, this morning,when I ran the Northgate 10km race, there was a lady race walker, in her 50’s (she had a 50 tag on her shirt), that was walking as fast as I was running, and I only managed to speed ahead of her at about 7km! So impressive.
Kevin was saying that he coached a runner a few months ago who wanted to do a better time at Comrades, and that makes sense to me.
Anyway, if you’re keen on being coached and learning proper race walking techniques, Lesley (who is a member of the CGA), and other race walkers are at the UJ campus in Soweto once a month on a Saturday morning from 8am. They have coaches as well as some judges there to help race walking techniques… but they only want people to attend that are really serious because they need to give you individual attention.
PS. Just a suggestion for the CGMA or the CGA, if someone happens to read my blog… it’s impossible to find information about ranking, and the local athletics websites are horribly out of date. I did find somewhere that said that Lesley’s ranking in 2013 is Africa no 1, South Africa no 1, and World no 1 in 5km outdoor walking… but I have no idea whether that was real, so I can’t even explain their credentials.