February 24, 2004

Al Heppner, an Olympic hopeful in the sport of racewalking, died in an apparent suicide this week. In the grueling little-known sport, walkers must "go as fast as they can, but can't run. Their lead leg must be locked when hitting the ground." The best racewalkers can complete 16 miles in under two hours.

posted by rcade to other at 01:11 PM - 10 comments

Race walking....a good candidate for the "sport or not a sport" discussion in the locker room.

posted by aacheson at 02:45 PM on February 24

Considering the physical and mental requirements, I'd say the sport/not sport question is easy -- those athletes are pretty hardcore. Racewalking sounds like cross-country skiing without the snow or the skis.

posted by rcade at 02:51 PM on February 24

Yup, I'd like to see anyone reading this site walk at 8 mph for an extended length of time. Hell, most of us would probably have trouble jogging at that rate.

posted by deadcowdan at 03:09 PM on February 24

Indeed. I had a co-worker claim he went on three mile walks, which (he said) took him about thirty minutes. That's six miles an hour, and while I believe some people can do it, walking that fast is pretty damn difficult.

posted by rocketman at 03:57 PM on February 24

I've walked a marathon and not even close to the speed this guy did. My coach was a marathon race walker—I have a ton of respect for those people.

posted by pearlgirl at 04:36 PM on February 24

I think it's silly. If you're in a hurry, freakin' RUN!

posted by mick at 06:04 PM on February 24

I'd rather run than race walk any day. It's far easier.

posted by justgary at 11:01 PM on February 24

I'd rather run than race walk any day. It's far easier. That's exactly why we do run. At a certain speed, it becomes more efficient for a human body to change strides and begin running. Trying to maintain the walking stride while moving at running speed is considerably more energy-consuming than just breaking into a run.

posted by deadcowdan at 11:11 AM on February 25

AHAHAHAHAHAHHA

posted by tommy at 07:21 PM on February 25

At a certain speed, it becomes more efficient for a human body to change strides and begin running. Exactly deadcowdan. I've read comments on other sites where people claim walking doesn't give a person enough of a workout, which is of course false. I think they get confused by the term walking and imagine a nice sunday stroll. Run a 9 minute mile and then walk a 9 minute mile and I'm sure they'll change their tune. Funny looking? Sure. Hard as hell and a great workout? Yep. I think a lot of misinformed comments on race walking just stems from ignorance.

posted by justgary at 09:40 PM on February 27

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