Blog - Lessons from athletics

Back to blog

Heroes of race walking – Part 2, Great Britain


Jonathan Hobbs

In the follow up to last week’s #WalkingWednesday article for On Track Athletics and Off Track and Running, here is part 2, about the British legends of race walking.


In Great Britain, race walking can sometimes feel like a lonely discipline and we can be tempted to look overseas with envy. In my previous article I talked about race walkers from around the world who became heroes. It can be easy to forget Britain’s prosperous history, but we should remember the British race walkers who were among the best in the world. In fact, it has been difficult to select only a few.


Tommy Green

In the first Olympic walks, in 1908, Great Britain’s Larner, Webb and Spencer won 5 of the 6 medals available, but it was in the 1930s when the 50km was introduced that Britain’s walkers found their feet. The first of these was Tommy Green. Born with rickets, Green was unable to walk at all until he was 5. A horse fell on him when he was a teenager, again crippling him, and in WW1 he was wounded three times and gassed. He worked as a railwayman and didn’t take up race walking until his 30s…


Read the full article here.