Where are the American 50km Racewalkers?

Posted on February 21, 2009 by

This was posted on Dave McGovern’s Blog. A shame!

Step up!

Posted by rayzwocker Feb 20, 2009

So it’s come to this…

The USATF National 50k took place last weekend in Santee, CA and the results were less than stellar. With marathon walking becoming more and more popular, this shouldn’t be the case. There are more people walking long distances now than there were thirty years ago, but whereas we had 39 male starters in the National 50k in 1979, we had four (4!) this year with only one finisher under 5 hours compared to 19 under 5:00 in 1979. As recently as 1999 we had 15 finishers at the USATF 50k under 5 hours. The problem (?) may be that marathon walking has become so popular that now most of the racewalkers who enjoy walking long distances are racing Disney and the Rock & Roll series instead of our National 40k and 50k Championships. I’ve racewalked a lot of marathons over the years, but for the most part I’ve done them as training for the 50k–one of the two Olympic distances for male racewalkers. We had five spots open for a free trip to the Pan Am Cup in El Salvador in April and only Philip Dunn earned a spot on the team. Aren’t there some marathon walkers out there who want to step up to 50k? And what about half-marathoners? Why not try a 20k?–the other Olympic distance for men, and the only Olympic racewalk distance for women. Half-marathon walking and marathon walking are thriving in the US, but elite racewalking seems to be withering on the vine. It’s okay t o continue walking in running races, but every once in a while, please, support your local racewalks and National Racewalking Championships!

Walk on!