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Race Walking Books


This page is set aside for scans of old racewalking books that are out of print and no longer available. 

Be patient - some of these are big files and will take a few minutes to download.

1813Pedestrianism by Walter ThomPedestrianism Or An Account of the Performances of Celebrated Pedestrians During the Last and Present Century: With a Full Narrative of Captain Barclay's Public and Private Matches; and an Essay on Training
By Walter Thom, Aberdeen, 1813

This wonderful 286 page booklet is by far the earliest pedestrian book and is a must read for any serious sports historian. It was written by Scottish book publisher Walter Thom and published in 1813. The early chapters on Modern Pedestrianism trace the history of this sport from the late seventeen hundreds up to Captain Barclay's walk in 1809. The middle chapters publish Captain Barclay's diary of his full walk of 1000 Miles in 1000 Hours. The chapter On Training discusses the use of purgatives, emetics, sweats and diet on preparing the pedestrian for his forthcoming feats. Not for the faint hearted!
Hardcopies of this book are very scarce and normally fetch upwards of US$500.
1909Larner's Text Book on WalkingGeorge Larner's 1909 classic, titled Larner's Text Book On Walking. Written the year after he won golds in both walks at the 1908 Olympics, it is now considered as the first serious book on racewalking.
1911Race Walking A Primer of the Sport by Hugh. W. InnesThis is indeed a collector's item, a primer of the sport of Race Walking, written by Hugh W. Innes and published in London in 1911. This book attempted to tell all there was to know about the science and the history of race walking in the 19th and early 20th centuries. It is 93 pages, measures 7 inches by 5 inches and has a hard green cover. Like other books of the period, it comes with many print advertisements for health foods and with many old photographs of race walkers and pedestrians. Copies can be found for purchase but at a premium price.
1929Le sport de la MarcheThis one from Emmanuel Tardi and dating from 1929. Time to dust up on your French!
1957Race Walking by Harold WhitlockA comprehensive racewalking training manual by 1936 Olympic 50km champion Harold Whitlock of GBR. Published by the Amateur Athletic Assocation in 1957, it is 62 pages in length and has lots of photos of the walkers of the day.
1962Training for Race Walking by Frank McGuireWritten way back in 1962 by Australian National Walks Coach Frank McGuire bur still a wonderful resource, that includes training profiles of many of the top walkers of the era.
1975A Brief History of Race Walking by Robert OsterhoustAn excellent history of racewalking, up till 1975 when this book was published by the Associate Professor of PE at the University of Minnesota.  
1976Race Walking by Julian HopkinsA comprehensive racewalking training manual by Julian Hopkins who was at that time the UK Head Coach, Racewalking. This edition was a complete reworking of Whitlock's book and added sample training and racing programs, season planning, nutrition, injury management and much more. It is fair to say that it took into account the advances made in the 19 years since 1957. In 1989, the B.A.A.B. published a further revamp of the basic training manual, this time written by the then event coach PeterMarkham. I'll get that one up eventually.
1979Olympic Heroes Vladimir GolubnichiyOne of a series of Russian publications focusing on the Olympic Heroes. I suspect I have the only copy in Australia!
Stop press: George White of Adelaide tells me he also has a copy!
1985Evolution of Race Walking Records - Rasmussen and LassenEvolution of Race Walking Records and Best Performances MEN and WOMEN
by Egon Rasmussen and Palle Lassen

When Palle Lassen of Denmark died on 2nd December 1999, just one day short of his eightieth birthday, the racewalking world last one of its most well known and respected people. Palle was a renowned statistician (he was Treasurer of the Association of Track & Field Statisticians) but above all he was dedicated to race walking. He was first elected to the IAAF Walking Committee in 1968 and became its Chairman in 1972. In this capacity, he served the racewalking community until he stepped down in 1991. He was then made an Honorary Life Member of the Race Walking Committee in 1991 and continued to served on the Committee until his death in 1999. He was also a long serving IAAF Judge who officiated at the 1960, 1968, 1972, 1976, 1980, 1984 and 1988 Olympics, being chief judge on quite a few occasions. Indeed, he was awarded the IAAF Veteran Pin, in recognition of his long service to the cause of world athletics, way back in 1976.
His competence and dedication and personal charm ensured that he was greatly respected throughout the athletics world and I was lucky enough to meet him on multiple occasions between 1976 and 1983.
But it is his collaborations with fellow Dane Egon Rasmussen for which he is remembered in this little article. From the late 1960s until the mid 1980s, they jointly published many racewalking related books, including yearly world statistics almanacs, all-time best lists, ranking lists and world record progression lists. Nowadays, we can find all this info out via the internet, but they published it at a time when such luxuries were not even dreamed of. I have in my personal library 6 different titles of theirs, all of which have been thumbed through on many occasions.
A Hundred Years Afoot by Peter Cassidy
A Hundred Years Afoot – a Celebration of a Century of Race Walking was published by the Race Walking Association at Shenfield, England,  in 2014. Editor Peter Cassidy has kindly sent me an electronic copy to add to our VRWC book archive.
Copyright: please note that the book A Hundred Years Afoot; A Celebration of a Century of Race Walking is protected by copyright, which extends to this electronic copy. However, as indicated on page xvi, the Race Walking Association and the Editor are happy to see it used for the benefit of the sport, and no action is likely to be taken in the case of such fair use; an acknowledgement of the source, however, would be appreciated.
Comments may also be sent to him by email at: Peter.Cassidy@btinternet.com