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IAAF Rules Governing Racewalking

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The overall governance of racewalking as an international sport is provided by the IAAF ( International Association of Athletics Federations).  In particular, IAAF Rule 230  provides the formal definition of racewalking and the rules covering racewalking events.

Note changes with regard to the Pit Lane - Rule 230.7 (c) - came into force on Nov. 1, 2017. These are reflected below.


IAAF RULE 230:   RACE WALKING (extract from IAAF Competition Rules 2016-2017)

1. Distances

The standard distances shall be: indoor: 3000m, 5000m; outdoor: 5000m, 10km, 10,000m, 20km, 20,000m, 50km, 50,000m.

2. Definition of Race Walking

Race Walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground, so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs. 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.

3. Judging

(a) The appointed judges of Race Walking shall elect a Chief Judge, if one has not been appointed previously.

(b) All the Judges shall act in an individual capacity and their judgements shall be based on observations made by the human eye.

(c) In competitions held under Rule 1.1(a), all Judges shall be International Race Walking Judges. In competitions held under Rules 1.1(b), (c), (e), (f), (g) and (j), all Judges shall be either Area or International Race Walking Judges.

(d) For Road Races, there should normally be a minimum of six to a maximum of nine Judges including the Chief Judge.

(e) For Track Races, there should normally be six Judges including the Chief Judge.

(f) In competitions held under Rule 1.1(a) not more than one Judge (excluding the Chief Judge) from any Country can officiate.

4. Chief Judge

(a) In competitions held under Rules 1.1(a), (b), (c), (d) and (f), 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 Rule 230.2 regardless of the number of previous Red Cards 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 race. 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 race.

(b) The Chief Judge shall act as the supervising official for the competition, and act as a Judge only in the special situation noted in Rule 230.4(a). In competitions held under Rules 1.1(a), (b), (c) and (f), two or more Chief Judge’s Assistants shall be appointed.
The Chief Judge’s Assistant(s) are to assist with the notification of disqualifications only and shall not act as Race Walking Judges.

(c) For all competitions held under Rules 1.1(a), (b), (c) and (f), an official in charge of the Posting Board(s) and a Chief Judge’s Recorder shall be appointed.

5. Yellow Paddle

When a judge is not completely satisfied that an athlete is fully complying with Rule 230.2, he should, where possible, show the athlete a yellow paddle with the symbol of the offence on each side.
An athlete cannot be shown a second yellow paddle by the same Judge for the same offence. Having shown a yellow paddle to an athlete, the Judge shall inform the Chief Judge of his action after the competition.

6. Red Cards

When a Judge observes an athlete failing to comply with Rule 230.2 by exhibiting visible loss of contact or a bent knee during any part of the competition, the Judge shall send a Red Card to the Chief Judge.

7. Disqualification

(a) Except as provided in Rule 230.7(c), when three Red Cards from three different Judges have been sent to the Chief Judge on the same athlete, the athlete is disqualified and he shall be notified of this disqualification by the Chief Judge or a Chief Judge’s Assistant by being shown a red paddle. The failure to give notification shall not result in the reinstatement of a disqualified athlete.

(b) In competitions under Rules 1.1(a), (b), (c) or (e), in no circumstances shall the Red Cards of two Judges of the same nationality have the power to disqualify.

(c) A Pit Lane shall be used for any race where the applicable Regulations for the competition so provide and may be used for other races as determined by the relevant governing body or Organising Committee. In such cases, an athlete will be required to enter the Pit Lane and remain there for the applicable period (as set out in the Regulations or Organising Committee decision) once they have received three Red Cards and are so advised by the Chief Judge or someone delegated by him.

The applicable period in the Pit Lane will be the following.

For races:
Up to 5km: 0.5 min
Up to 10km: 1 min
Up to 20km: 2 min
Up to 30km: 3 min
Up to 40km: 4 min
Up to 50km: 5 min

If, at any time, the athlete receives an additional Red Card from a Judge other than one of the three who had previously sent a Red Card, he shall be disqualified. An athlete who fails to enter the Pit Lane when required to do so, or remain there for the applicable period, shall be disqualified by the Chief Judge.

(d) In Track Races, an athlete who is disqualified shall immediately leave the track and, in Road Races, shall, immediately after being disqualified, remove the distinguishing bibs and leave the course. Any disqualified athlete who fails to leave the course or track or comply with directions given under Rule 230.7(c) to enter and remain for the required period in the Pit lane may be liable to further disciplinary action in accordance with Rule 145.2.

(e) One or more Posting Boards shall be placed on the course and near the finish to keep athletes informed about the number of Red Cards that have been sent to the Chief Judge for each athlete. The symbol of each offence should also be indicated on the Posting Board.

(f) For all Rule 1.1(a) competitions, hand held computer devices with transmission capability must be used by the judges to communicate all Red Cards to the Recorder and the Posting Board(s). In all other competitions, in which such a system is not used, the Chief Judge, immediately after the end of the event, shall report to the Referee the identification of all athletes disqualified under Rule 230.4(a), 230.7(a), or 230.7 (c) by indicating the bib identification, the time of the notification and the offences; the same shall be done for all the athletes who received Red Cards.

8. Start

The races shall be started by the firing of a gun. The commands for races longer than 400m shall be used (Rule 162.2(b)). In races which include a large number of athletes, five-minute, three-minute and one minute warnings before the start of the race should be given. On the command “On your marks”, the athletes shall assemble on the start line in the manner determined by the organisers. The Starter shall ensure that no athlete has his foot (or any part of his body) touching the start line or the ground in front of it, and shall then start the race.

9. Safety

The Organising Committee of Race Walking events shall ensure the safety of athletes and officials. In competitions held under Rules 1.1(a), (b), (c) and (f), the Organising Committee shall ensure that the roads used for the competition are closed to motorised traffic in all directions.

10. Drinking / Sponging and Refreshment Stations in Road Events

(a) Water and other suitable refreshments shall be available at the start and finish of all races.

(b) For all events of 5km or longer up to and including 10km, water only drinking / sponging stations shall be provided at suitable intervals if weather conditions warrant such provision.
Note: Mist stations may also be arranged, when considered appropriate under certain organisational and/or climatic conditions.

(c) For all events longer than 10km, refreshment stations shall be provided every lap. In addition, water only drinking / sponging stations shall be placed approximately midway between the refreshment stations or more frequently if weather conditions warrant such provision.

(d) Refreshments, which may be provided by either the Organising Committee or the athlete, shall be placed at the stations so that they are easily accessible to, or may be put by authorised persons into the hands of, the athletes.

(e) Such authorised persons may not enter the course nor obstruct any athlete. They may hand the refreshment to the athlete either from behind, or from a position no more than one metre to the side, but not in front, of the table.

(f) In competitions held under Rules 1.1(a), (b), (c) and (f), a maximum of two officials per Country may be stationed behind the table at any one time. No official or authorised person shall, under any circumstances, run beside an athlete while he is taking refreshment or water.
Note: For an event in which a Country may be represented by more than three athletes, the Technical Regulations may allow additional officials at the refreshment tables.

(g) An athlete may, at any time, carry water or refreshment by hand or attached to his body provided it was carried from the start or collected or received at an official station.

(h) An athlete who receives or collects refreshment or water from a place other than the official stations, except where provided for medical reasons from or under the direction of race officials, or takes the refreshment of another athlete, should, for a first such offence, be warned by the Referee normally by showing a yellow card. For a second offence, the Referee shall disqualify the athlete, normally by showing a red card. The athlete shall then immediately leave the course.

11. Road Courses

(a) The circuit shall be no shorter than 1km and no longer than 2km.For events that start and finish in the stadium, the circuit should be located as close as possible to the stadium.

(b) Road courses shall be measured in accordance with Rule 240.3.

Race Conduct

12. In events of 20km or more, an athlete may leave the road or track with the permission and under the supervision of an official, provided that by going off course he does not lessen the distance to be covered.

13. If the Referee is satisfied on the report of a Judge or Umpire or otherwise that an athlete has left the marked course thereby shortening the distance to be covered, he shall be disqualified.