Sunday, 18 March 2012

The Marathon Walking dilemna....

A member of my favourite walking forum, The Walking Site, posted today about the results of the "walking division" of a half marathon seeming far too fast for walkers, and he's right. The times listed would put you just about ready for the Olympics! The problem? "Walkers" actually running part of the race. It's  a perennial problem for races offering separate divisions for walkers. Some races (like Columbus) have you wear a separate back bib stating you are a competitive walker so you are watched (supposedly) by race officials here and there along the route (as well as by other racers, presumably). Because of this vigilance, they do give out awards for walking divisions. It must mean having a lot of extra personnel around, though. Most races with walking divisions just put you on the honour system, and we all know what happens with that - the truly honourable get the short end of the stick. As a result, they don't give out awards, but might post results separately, which still doesn't help us truly know how we are doing against other walkers (as some of the finishers in the "Walking" division didn't walk the whole thing). Other events simply "welcome walkers", which means our results get lumped in with the runners. This is okay if you're simply competing against yourself. However, with a huge upswing of dedicated walkers taking to the racing field these days, something's gotta give. I don't know what the answer is, aside from  walkers-only marathons and half marathons where ANYONE running is DQ'd. There are currently some events of this type, but they're certainly not as prevalent as running events. There must be a way to integrate walkers and runners fairly. If you have any suggestions to offer race directors let me know!     

1 comment:

  1. Being a college instructor for many years I have 'seen' so much cheating. It's depressing. I believe it is a commentary on society though and suspect this what is happening with walking divisions. Solving this is a tough one. Monitoring this during a race would require an incredible amount eyes watching.