Best of luck to Rob Heffernan who will be back in London this month, competing in the Men's 50km Race Walk in the IAAF World Championships 2017. His race starts at 7.45 a.m. on Sunday 13 August.
In 2012, the race walker competed in the 50km and came 4th only to be awarded the bronze in November 2016. Let's hope he gets his medal on the Mall this time around!
Race walking is a fascinating sport and the rules are straightforward enough (although definitely not easy!):
- Your leading foot must land on its heel and your leading leg then has to stay straight at the knee until it passes directly under your body while one foot must remain in visible contact with the ground at all times. Although freeze-frame or photograph any race and you will see walkers with both feet off the ground for a split second, the visible contact rule is judged ‘to the human eye’ by numerous judges placed around every circuit. A yellow paddle from a judge is a warning to keep an eye on your technique. If you don’t heed the warning, then a red paddle follows from the same judge. Three of these red paddles from different judges and you’re disqualified, while the chief judge can also disqualify a walker inside the finishing stadium or in the final 100m of a race, even if they have had no previous warnings.