50 KM Roak Walk
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Racewalking is a long-distance event
There are two rules that govern racewalking. The first dictates that the athlete's back toe cannot leave the ground until the heel of the front foot has touched. Violation of this rule is known as 'lifting.' The second rule requires that the supporting leg must straighten from the point of contact with the ground and remain straightened until the body passes over it. These rules are judged by the human eye, which creates controversy at today's high speeds. Athletes may sometimes 'lift' for a few milliseconds per stride which can be caught on high-speed film, but such a short flight phase' is undetectable to the human eye.
Athletes stay low to the ground by keeping their arms pumping low, close to their hips. If one sees a racewalker's shoulders rising, it may be a sign that the athlete is losing contact with the ground. What appears to be an exaggerated swivel to the hip is, in fact, a full rotation of the pelvis. Athletes aim to move the pelvis forward, and to minimize sideways motion in order to achieve maximum forward propulsion. Speed is achieved by stepping quickly with the aim of rapid turnover. This minimizes the risk of the feet leaving the ground. Strides are short and quick, with pushoff coming forward from the ball of the foot, again to minimize the risk of lifting off the ground. World-class racewalkers (male and female) can walk a mile (1.6 km) in under six minutes.
There are judges on the course to monitor form. Three judges submitting "red cards" for violations results in disqualification. There is a scoreboard placed on the course so competitors can see their violation status. If the third violation is received, the chief judge removes the competitor from the course by showing a red paddle. For monitoring reasons, races are held on a looped course or on a track so judges get to see competitors several times during a race. A judge could also "warn" a competitor that he or she is in danger of losing form by showing a paddle that indicates either lifting or bent knees. Disqualifications are routine at the elite level, such as the famous case of Jane Saville disqualified within sight of a gold medal in front of her home crowd in the 2000 Summer Olympics.
Racewalking versus speedwalking
While racewalking is the official name for the sport, many people who are not familiar with the event call it speedwalking, as racers walk at a fast pace. This term is disliked by racewalkers, as it is the term that was used by those in the fitness industry (i.e. not track & field) to denote extra exertion while walking, but without any of the rules explained above. Basically, speedwalking is the same thing as power walking.