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York hosts British Grand Prix of Race Walking

Posted on 3 June 2014

Athletes from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand and Canada will take part in the British Grand Prix of Race Walking at the University of York this weekend.

The British Grand Prix of Race Walking will take place at the University of York on 8 June.

Held at the cycle circuit at York Sport Village on Sunday, 8 June, the international event has attracted over 40 athletes from 12 countries.

The Grand Prix is part of the European Athletics Association Race Walking Permit series which also involves events in Switzerland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Portugal, Lithuania and Russia. The International programme has races over 20km for men and women and 10km for Junior (under 20) men and women.

The event is the British Trials for the European Athletics Championships in Zurich in August. The first two British athletes who have the qualifying times 83.30 Men’s 20km and 92.00 Women’s 20km will be selected for the British team.

Many athletes in the senior races will also be looking to qualify for their respective national teams for the European Championships, while in the Junior races athletes will be seeking to qualify for the IAAF World Junior Championships which will be staged in Eugene, Oregon, USA next month. The event also incorporates the Irish National Senior Championships over 20km.

Event Director Ian Richards said: “It is fantastic that we have been able to attract athletes from around the world to the event in York and we can promise spectators an action- packed programme.”

Andi Drake, Head Coach at the National Race Walking Centre in Leeds and an England Athletics Endurance Coach Mentor, said: “The Grand Prix showcases the wider development of the race walking event group: most of the top domestic athletes train at the National Centre for Race Walking, which was set up in 2009 and has been transformational in the performance levels of UK race walking – our philosophy is about being the best we can be and working with athletes that they may fulfil their potential.”

York has a significant place in the history of the discipline of race walking as the world’s first amateur race walking event was staged 111 years ago, between Bradford’s George Hotel and the Windmill Hotel, on 31 May 1903 over a distance of 39 miles.

Keith Morris, Head of Sport at the University of York, said: “This summer is proving to be a hugely significant one for Yorkshire and the UK. We are very pleased to have been given the opportunity to host such a prestigious event and to support athletes as they prepare for the up and coming European Championships.

“The University of York and its partners continue to invest in its sporting estate, and events such as the British Grand Prix of Race Walking help raise the profile of our facilities and the opportunities available to those inspired by them.” 

Cllr Sonja Crisp, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Culture and Tourism, City of York Council, said: “Besides the city’s historical connection to the sport, welcoming this international field of competitors is testament to the city’s ability to attract significant sporting events and to the calibre of our facilities. I’m looking forward to a great competition!”

The British Grand Prix of Race Walking will take place at York Sport Village, University of York, on Sunday, 8 June. The event is free to watch. Action gets underway at 10.15am with the Junior Women’s 10km and Senior Women’s 20km, followed by the Senior Men’s 20km and Junior Men’s 10km at 10.30am and an open 3km event at 12.40pm.

Further information:

  • The British Grand Prix of Race Walking is a European Athletics Association Race Walking Permit Meeting, incorporating the British Athletics European Athletics Championships Trials and Athletics Ireland National Senior Men & Women 20km Championships. For further information visit the website at or follow on Twitter at @yorkwalk
  • Sport at York

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