Running 20 kilometers at a pace of 3:45 per kilometer is an excellent feat, but doing so while walking is outrageous. Spanish athlete Alvaro Martin did just that, winning World Cup gold in an exhibition match that brought him very close to the professional world record.
The Extremadura athlete won his first World Cup gold at the age of 29 after coming very close to it several times. To achieve this, he has to run faster than ever and he shows how such a technical and complex discipline can achieve the very high level of cadence that would be a signature of any popular runner.
In fact, Álvaro Martin won the gold medal over 20km with a time of 1:17.32, and if extrapolated to the half marathon, the walker would have crossed the finish line in 1:21.30. The record would place him comfortably in the top 20 of most half marathons held in Spain.
The athlete from Extremadura was an atypical case in the march. He was a prospect in long-distance track and field until the age of 16. He excelled in cross-country and 10,000-meter races, but a knee injury took him out of racing for good in favor of walking. “A knee problem and a coach’s advice made me try marching. I needed something that had no impact and I tried it. It worked so well for me and I never stopped it. It was luck.”
“It’s the only subject where if you start walking they disqualify you”
Alvaro Martin explains in an interview with Sport Jot Down The difference between walking and running: “You have to give two strokes to the two rules we have. We have to be visible with the human eye, with one foot always in contact with the ground. I say the human eye. Because if you take a picture, you will See there is a “flight” phase. How much is allowed? The time allowed for flight is hundredths of a second and both feet cannot touch the ground at the same time. This is considered undetectable unless you slow down the camera or take a picture. Then we have to have the attacking knee or leg, the knee or leg that moves forward, let’s say, the moment it hits the ground, it has to be straight.”
The 20km parade world champion argued that his discipline and the way he monitors marchers should be modernized to remove suspicions of cheating during illegal parades: “People see us on TV and sometimes they think we’re running, but we’re not running. No… one would think the straight knee thing might be more complicated, but isn’t there enough technology to be able to control it during the flight phase? Also, we Pacers ask World Athletics, who is capable of doing it So modernize our discipline as they have done to other disciplines. Now any launch, jump measurement is done with the most modern technology. Even they talk about starting blocks that reduce reaction time, everything is Is technology based. Why don’t they want to apply it to walking? In the 21st century, it’s so old and subjective that spectators and athletes themselves have doubts. Sometimes we have more than a hundred at world championships Pacers, there are eight judges, do you think the judges will be able to control everyone in the first kilometer, among the fastest one hundred main car group at the moment? It’s impossible, I’ve seen professional colleagues stay The center of the crowd and run away is of course unacceptable. He is no longer cheating, he is damaging the reputation of the profession.”
Alvaro Martin explained something about the parade that would upset most fans: “We’re the only sport where if you start walking, they disqualify you. Because you don’t stretch in the offensive step. Straight knees. This is part of the game, and it’s very strategic. If I see a teammate next to me with two cards, I’ll beat him no matter how annoying. But it’s also one of the Damocles we carry with us when we play. Sword. March”.