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 4. Youth athletes

younrracewalkers

University of British Columbia women racing 3K at West Seattle track. Men behind them are doing the 5K.

Not every young athlete is cut out to be an exceptional runner. Also, developing runners are prone to injury. Racewalking may be a great alternative to running, or additional competitive and cross-training activity, for many youngsters. Local, regional, and national level events, including Junior Olympics, often have racewalk events that go begging for competitors and a little talent goes a long way in the sport. As the young athlete progresses, the opportunities for competition are unlimited. The US only sent one each to the three Olympic racewalks because not enough athletes qualified. Various other national and international competitions are available for a successful young walker.

There are also college opportunities to compete as a racewalker at the NAIA colleges. Here is an excerpt from the Racewalk.com Website.    
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The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has been conducting the race walk as a scored event at its National Track & Field Championships for nearly 35 years.  Since 1980 nearly 75% of all race walkers on the USA Olympic Team have graduated from NAIA member colleges and universities.
The NAIA has always been the forward thinking, driving force for the inclusion, not exclusion, of all Olympic Events at the collegiate level. Not only are the race walks a scoring event at both the indoor and outdoor National T&F Championships but the NAIA also includes the marathon with its outdoor T&F championships.
There are many advantages to competing in the NAIA as a race walker. Besides the benefit of the close-knit communities and small class sizes typically found on a NAIA member school campus, NAIA athletics offer:

  1. A maximum opportunity to participate in regular season competitions and National Championships
  2. Greater opportunities to transfer without losing a season of eligibility
  3. Fewer recruiting restrictions and No NCAA Clearing house requirements
  4. The focus is on education and character development of the student athlete

The NAIA is comprised of almost 300 member institutions, each dedicated to the ideals of excellence in character and respect in both athletics and academics. About 200 of these schools have T&F programs. About two dozen of these currently have race walkers. The rest are looking for that one walker that will lead their program.
Here is the link to www.racewalk.com (go to the Resources-Schools page) which contains the above plus more information for youth racewalking.

Local racewalkers are happy to help youngsters learn all about racewalking. Contact me for more information at 206-327-9105.

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