Do you wish to become involved with race walking without becoming a walker yourself?

There are two principal ways in which you can do this.

One is to become a coach, helping walkers to develop their techniques, strength and "racing brains" and th other is to koin the band of officials, without whom events could not take place.


There is much satisfaction to be gained from coaching and from seeing ones charges developing, whether that is from total beginner to competent club walker or from aspiring performer to international competitor.

Coaches, like officials, can also develop and there is a framework for progressing, like the walkers themselves, from the basic wish to do it up to the level at which the coach is advising international champions.

Some coaches become "mentors" – in effect helping existing coaches to go to higher levels of expertise – generally while still firectly coaching walkers.


There are several different types of official, all of whom are invaluable for making sure that events go smoothly; many officials are involved in more than one branch of the craft.

Briefly, there are:

Judges, who are there to ensure that the walkers stick to the rules;
Recorders, whose job it to make sure that the competitors cover the proper number of laps and are recorded when they finish;
Timekeepers, responsible for ensuring the accurate timing of  the walkers' performances;
Marshals, who check that the competitors don't stray of course and who also do their best to prevent outside interference with races;
Starters, who ensure that all is well on the start line and send the walkers off, usually by firing a pistol.

Just as a coach can progress from the very basics to looking after top internationals, so an official can go from the humblest – but still necessary – duties to being in charge at the largest events, which for race walking officials would be at the level of the World Cup of Race Walking, the World Championships and the Olympic Games, by way of everything in between. As with coaching, senior officials will be helping junior ones to develop and progress and thus ensuring the succession.

Incidentally, many coaches and officials are also active competitors themselves; there is no problem in mixing the three.

Visit the Coaching Section of the
England Athletics Web Site.
Visit the Officiating Page of the R.W.A.
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