Saturday, August 30, 2008



A few weeks ago both David Downer and I were asked to collaborate on the drafting of new “race rules” for the Nordic Walking categories in the forthcoming Marathon at Portland, Oregon.

We are now working closely with Judy Heller of Wonders of Walking LLC of Portland. Judy is the coordinator for both the Nordic Walk and Racewalk division of the event.

David and I have put together a draft protocol which is currently posted on the Nordic Walking eCommunity (forum) with a view to starting a ten day period of consultation. This protocol is also published here and any comments are very welcome.

The underlying thrust of the protocol is to emphasise safety considerations but to keep the Nordic Walking “rules” to an absolute minimum. In fact, we have asserted that there should be no control over walking technique whatsoever and that reliance be placed upon the Nordic Walker’s integrity. See what you think and let us know, either here or over on the forum at:-
This is the draft:


The Nordic Walking Protocol is constructed in two parts: Safety Rules/ Nordic Walking Etiquette and Guiding Principles.

Criteria concerning safety are given the status of rules, as safe walking must have primacy. However, how a competitor walks, and the technique he or she adopts is a matter of personal choice, and this is intentionally left open. The underlying ethos of these principles is to be inclusive and they are therefore designed to allow any viable form of “fitness walking with purpose made poles”.

Safety Rules and Nordic Walking Etiquette

1.Show consideration to your fellow competitors and act as ambassadors for Nordic Walking.
2.Poles should have purpose made rubber “asphalt paws” attached throughout the event and participants should carry a spare pair. (reason – to avoid injury and to aid walking on hard surfaces)
3.Please remember to keep your poles pointing downwards at all times.
4.Except in an emergency, please do not lay your poles on the ground during the event.
5.If there is a need to change or replace asphalt paws, please move to the side of the course, and take great care when working on your poles.
6.When taking fluids, or food, by all means free one pole but carry it close to the body.
7.Poles can be of any type or manufacture provided that they are fit for purpose, and may be of one piece, or adjustable design. Home made poles may not be safe, or effective, and are therefore not acceptable.

Guiding principles

1.WALKING This special event category is primarily a walking category, so each participant must maintain one foot in contact with the ground throughout. (reason – to prevent running)
2.WALKING This event category does not envisage the use of roller blades, as in Nordic Blading. (reason – it’s a walking event)
3.POLES Participants are expected to use two poles continuously throughout the event, except when taking fluids or refreshments or in an emergency. (reason – it’s a Nordic Walking event)
4.POLES Poles can either have demi gloves (straps) or be strapless (reason – to allow the adoption of any pole walking technique)
5.TECHNIQUE The competitor is asked to adopt a viable Nordic Walking style. However, there is NO control over the style actually adopted; wall call upon your sense of fairness!


Q - I have a pair of poles where, by design, the end spike protrudes slightly through the asphalt paw. Is this acceptable?

A – Yes. However, modifying paws by inserting screws, studs or the like, is not acceptable.

Q - Race walking – is this an acceptable approach?

A – Yes, race walkers are welcome provided they use their poles as an integral and effective part of a viable Nordic Walking style.

Malcolm Jarvis, Nordic Walker Leeds UK in Collaboration with David Downer, owner of Nordic Walking News

I have quote your draft at, including a link to your site.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?