Racewalking – Common Terms

Here is a list of some of the common terms frequently used in Racewalking −

On your Marks − It is a phrase used to start the race and a warning sign for the athletes to be prepared for the race.

Step − is a motion of the feet moving from front to back to make a foot contact with the ground followed by the other foot.

Stride − A consequent event of taking steps and progressing forward during the race by the walker.

Stride Rate − The number of strides taken per minute.

Stride Length − The distance between the one of the foot having contact with the ground to other foot retreating behind during progression of the walker’s steps.

Gait − is referred to as the style or technique of walking during the competition.

Gait Cycle − is stated as the time taken to the heel strike of one leg until the heel strike of the same leg making a cyclical movement.

Stance Phase − The phase during which the athlete takes his whole body weight on one leg and specifically on to the heel till the moment of lifting the foot once the toe is off.

Swing Phase − The phase when the athlete’s toe is off the ground and the leg is not taking on any body weight till the athlete makes contact with the ground.

Flight Phase − At any instant of time if the athlete’s both feet are not in contact with the ground and usually cannot be detected by the human eye and will last up to a millisecond when one foot is advancing and the other one retreating.

Heel-to-Toe − is a technique implied by the walkers during Racewalking competitions to always maintain contact with the ground without bending the knee.

Loss of Contact − Refers to one of the important rules of Racewalking, the walker’s feet should never loose contact with the ground as visible to the human eye. The heel of one foot should definitely touch the ground before the toe of the other foot leaves the ground.

Bent Knee − Is the other important rule of Racewalking. While progression of the athlete’s steps forward, the advancing leg making contact with the ground should be straightened from the hip to the foot; until the other foot reaches to the vertical upright position the bending of the knee indicates a violation of this rule.

Yellow Paddle − Refers to a caution given to athletes if they are very close to violating any rules during the competition.

Red Card − Mentioned by the Chief Judge that the walker is disqualified from the race as three different walk judges have issued silently after noticing the violation of the rules.

Walk Judge − An experienced person to check the samples of the walkers of every lap to point out the infractions occurred during the race and indicates it to the chief judge.

Chief Judge − Out of the appointed judges of the event, one judge is assigned to be the chief judge to take decisions on the disqualifications of the athlete’s during the race.