(picture: World #1 David Morgan Smith (left) training with fellow walker Nic Brummer)
Sedgefielder Dave Morgan-Smith has been ranked the fasted race walker in the world for his age group.
Dave, who recently turned 85, had previously been ranked 3rd in the 80-85 age category, but now, according to current World Master Athletics Rankings, he has the fastest time worldwide for racewalkers 85+.
Dave was something of an athlete in his early years; at one time he even held the Eastern Province record for 880 Yards. But when his children came along, he retired from running to attend to their sporting achievements.
In 2002 a somewhat older Dave started race walking and has been an outstanding competitor ever since. He has successfully competed in countless provincial and national championships for which Sedgefield residents will doubtless have seen him training – pounding the streets at an admirable pace.
Race walking is believed to have originated in the Victorian era (1837-1901), when noblemen used to bet on their footmen as they walked alongside the horse-driven coaches. Subsequently, it became an official athletics event and is now permanently featured in the Olympics.
Race walking differs from running (where an athlete often has both feet off the ground during a sprint), in that competitive walkers must have one foot in contact with the ground at all times.
Dave comfortably walks at 7.5 min per km during his training sessions; that is 8 km per hour!
In a recent race over 10km, he finished in just over 72 minutes. If one were to adjust this time to compare it with that of a 20 to 30-year-old, his time would equate to 41min 37 seconds; truly world-class! It is no wonder he’s the fastest in the world.
Dave, we salute you!