The VRWC Committee agreed in July 2008 to trial two levels of judging for VRWC club events
a) IAAF Rules - which hold for all championships and for the vast majority of our VRWC walkers
b) Club Rules - a different interpretation of the rule which judge walkers on the very simple concept that 'the walker is walking to be best of his/her ability in a manner that does not give him/her an unfair advantage over other walkers'.
Following a trial that extended over the rest of the calendar year, Club Rules were formally adopted by VRWC.
Club Rules must be clearly understood by all competitors and club members so that there is no confusion as to its intent.
Club Rules will only be on offer for VRWC non-championship races. It is be possible to enter Club Championships as a 'Club Rules' competitor. They does not flow over to VMA or AV championships or other non-VRWC events. They remains internal rules used solely within our club.
Club Rules are not intended to stop all DQs and that is not their primary reason. People walking under Club Rules can still be disqualified if their mode of progression is deemed to be gaining them an unfair advantage over other walkers (eg a bent legged running creep). Such infractions are pretty obvious, even to an untrained eye and we would expect them to still be picked up by the judges.
If a VRWC judge is unable to judge according to Club Rules, then that judge is free to restrict his/her judging to those competitors walking under the IAAF rules. There is no compulsion on our judges to participate if they feel it is unworkable or if they have philosophical objections.
The Committee have agreed that while Club Rules walkers remain full participants in club non-championship events, they are NOT able to score Handicap or Actual Time or Style Award points.
The Committee affirm that Club Rules are not an option for our young walkers. We regard it as important that young walkers walk correctly from the beginning and young walkers are always expected to walk under full IAAF scrutiny unless there are extenuating circumstances.
Club Rules walkers should not walk faster simply because they are being judged under a modified rule. That is not the intent. The intent is that that they should continue to try to walk as well as possible. Hence we will monitor such walkers and scrutinize any whose times improve by a noticeable margin. This is not intended to be an open slather invitation for walkers to walk beyond their style and is perhaps the greatest danger in such a venture. We are aware of this.
We envisage three types of walkers who might opt to be judged under the Club Rule
- New walkers who are struggling to find a style. Such walkers will
eventually move up to the IAAF rules.
- Older walkers who can no longer satisfy the stringent IAAF rule. These walkers may well decide to stay with the Club Rules from then on.
- Walkers recovering from injury or operation or those who have a disability.
We envisage that, at any time, there will only be a small number of club walkers who would opt to compete under Club Rules.
Two yellow VRWC numbers in the range 481-500 are handed out to any walker who nominates to walk under Club Rules. Judges then look at the colour of the number and judge the walker accordingly.
By default, a walker is judged according to the IAAF rules unless he/she is wearing yellow club numbers. Such a person will normally be to the rear of the field and hence should be easily identifiable.