OlympicTalk

Olympian walks fastest mile in history

Running a mile in five and a half minutes is impressive. Walking a mile in 5:30? That’s a world record.

British Olympian Tom Bosworth race-walked a mile in 5:31.08 at a Diamond League meet in London on Sunday, the fastest time ever in the rarely contested event. Bosworth broke a 27-year-old record by almost six seconds.

Olympic race walks are 20km (12.4 miles) and 50km (24.9 miles) and primarily take place on the roads. Bosworth, who was sixth in the Rio Olympic 50km, got to race Sunday entirely on the 2012 Olympic Stadium track.

“I was able to unleash the speed today,” Bosworth told media afterward. “We’ve got to make athletics sexy again.”

What is race walking?

From USA Track and Field:

Race walking differs from running in that it requires the competitor to maintain contact with the ground at all times and requires the leading leg to be straightened as the foot makes contact with the ground. It must remain straightened until the leg passes under the body. Judges evaluate the technique of race walkers and report fouls which may lead to disqualification. All judging is done by the eye of the judge and no outside technology is used in making judging decisions.

Bosworth walked to the edge of disqualification Sunday, receiving two warnings during the race, according to Athletics Weekly.

Three red cards — given by judges for bent legs or losing contact with the ground to the naked eye — can result in disqualification (and did for three walkers in Sunday’s 10-man race).

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