What is Competitive walk?

The competitive walk is a long-distance footrace in which the participants must walk and not run. Form and technique of walking are very important in this category. 

Competitive walking isn’t just slow running. It is a progression of steps taken in such a way that the walker makes contact with the ground at all times and no visible loss of contact occurs during this course.

How it is different from running?

In running, the participants can bend both their knees however they like.  This is to gain pace while running, but in competitive walking the leading leg must be completely straightened when it makes contact with the ground and stays that way until it’s lifted again.

The other major difference is that timed walkers must have at least one foot touching the ground at all times. If timed walkers violate either of those two rules, a judge, who closely follows the athletes throughout the walk can raise the paddles* and impose a 10 second penalty for each foul. If you receive 3 of such paddles*, your participation will be disqualified. 

Rules for Competitive walk:

  • The advancing leg must be straightened (i.e. not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until the vertical upright position.
  • The participants are penalized for bending their knees, if their knee passes under the body or when one of their feet are not touching the ground, which is why it cannot be called slow running.
  • One foot must be in contact with the ground at all times which means that the participants need to walk and not run. Failure to do so is known as ‘lifting’. Lifting is loss of contact to the ground & is considered a foul.
  • “Straight leg rule,” which means the moment the leading foot touches the ground and until the leg passes under the center of the body, the knee is not allowed to bend.


Fouls and Penalties

On committing a foul (no foot in contact with the ground/running/ bent knee /lifting /pushing other participants), a yellow paddle* will be shown to the participant by a judge.

  • All the judges & Competitive walk official shall act in an individual capacity and their judgments shall be based on observations made by the human eye.
  • For 8 KM Competitive Walk, there will be chief judge, Race officials & volunteers (placed at every 100 metres) for observation & judging the competition.
  • For Bent Knee & loss of contact, the walk official will show the yellow paddles* indicating the foul to the participants & each foul will attract 10 seconds penalty. After 3 fouls, the judge will show the red paddle* which means the athlete is disqualified. (This means that the participant’s timing certificate will be cancelled and participant’s BIB will be reported to the chief judge during the walk.)
  • During the competition, the Chief Judge has the power to disqualify an athlete in the last 100m when his mode of progression obviously fails to comply with the rules regardless of the number of previous Yellow /Red Paddles* the Chief Judge has received on that athlete.
  • An athlete who is disqualified by the Chief Judge under these circumstances shall be allowed to finish the walk. He shall be notified of this disqualification by the Chief Judge or a Chief Judge’s Assistant by showing the athlete a red paddle* at the earliest opportunity after the athlete has finished the walk.



  • Loss of Contact

  • Bent Knee

  • Disqualification