When me and my husband head out for our long training sessions on a Sunday morning, I know that even though we are doing the same distance, that he will be home, showered and relaxing long before me. That’s the joy of living with a runner. It’s the same at events. When we did the LA Marathon he had finished and was sat in the sun on Santa Monica beach while I was still pounding down Rodeo Drive. But despite our time differences we still take part in many of the same events each year. Just because an event is advertised as a ‘run’ doesn’t mean that as a walker you can’t take part. Obviously, if you are a very fast walker, this opens up the number of events even more.
Tips for walking running events
- Check out the race rules or contact the organisers to find out what the cut-off time for the event is.
- Work out your pace – can you finish the race comfortably in the allotted time? Allow yourself 15-30 minutes extra in case of loo breaks, blister stops or congestion at water stations.
- Some events will set a time when the roads will re-open, after that you can still take part but you will have to walk on the pavements and contend with traffic.
- On race day plan to start near the back. This means that you won’t get pushed and bashed by runners who think they are Usain Bolt when the race starts.
- Watch out for crazy French men who will scoop you up under your arms and carry you along shouting ‘Allez, allez, allez,’ (not an every day occurrence, but this did happen to me at the 2014 Medoc Marathon).
- Enjoy all the support from the crowd. Walkers always seem to get extra support and the crowd are quite often amazed at how fast you are walking.
- Try not to look to smug when you over-take all the Usain Bolt wannabes who ran out of puff at mile four and are now shuffling along, wheezing like they smoke forty a day.
Events suitable for walkers
- Great South Run
- 10 miles
- Suitable for anyone who walks 18 minute miles or quicker.
- LA Marathon
- 6.5hr cut-off
- LA is home to a lot of powerwalkers so you will feel quite at home in this event.
- Paris Marathon
- 6hr cut-off so only suitable for very quick walkers (12-13 minute mile pace).
- There is a 5km race the day before which starts just off the Champs Élysées and finishes under the Eiffel Tower. This event is suitable for slower walkers and you still get to see the amazing sights. For under €10 you get a sports t-shirt, croissants, coffee, water and other nibbles – cheaper than a hotel breakfast.
- Rome Marathon
- 7hr cut-off
- Race for Life events
- Suitable for walkers, joggers and runners.
- Events include 5km, 10km, marathon and 5km Pretty Muddy obstacle course.
Feel free to share in the comments any other running races suitable for walkers. Or your experience of walking a running event.