Noel Paine is an experienced runner with over 35 years of pounding the roads and trails, mostly injury-free; yet the pandemic would lead to a major change in his lifestyle.
Along with everyone else, he found there were no more public events, gatherings or celebrations of any kind, which created an isolated existence for almost two years.
With running events put on hold indefinitely, he decided it was as good a time as any to transition his fitness regimen to race walking.
He was also profoundly motivated after interviewing Canadian Olympian, Evan Dunfee, who won a Bronze medal in the 50km racewalk at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Noel, the Dalhousie University graduate from Ottawa, is a communications specialist who has always seen himself as a storyteller.
He’s been published on four occasions, including a children’s book titled, Run Daddy Run; as well as, Talking Running; Ruminations, Thoughts and Poems from a Runningdad; and in February, 2023, Learning to Race Walk. Noel is a lifelong runner who incorporated it into his new found passion for race walking.
In an interview with the Record, Noel reveals why he wrote the book, Learning to Race Walk:
A guide for new race walkers and other such nonsense; and also offers his opinion on the future of race walking. Read on for our Q & A:
Q: What was the inspiration for writing the book?
The inspiration for the book was my own experiences learning the unique sport of race walking. It’s a small community in Canada and the United States and many people are spread out and have to learn and train on their own most of the time.
I wanted to help people who were interested in knowing a bit about the sport (that is an event in athletics) and those who were trying to learn the technique of race walking.
Q: What was the process like in writing it?
It was quite a fun process. I got to relive the time period when everything was new, and I was trying to figure out how to race walk.
I also had the opportunity and excuse to reach out to race walkers from around the world (recreational, elite,
Olympians and coaches) to get advice and information that would be great to include in the book.
I mean it was A LOT of work, but it was something I really enjoyed doing.
I had a good deal of help from a US race walk guru and coach Jeff Salvage (www.racewalk.com), who reviewed, edited and offered advice for the book.
The book is aimed at the Canadian and US audience. It’s a book for those who want to know more about the sport, those who want to try it and those who are just getting started.
It has a little bit of everything, my experiences, my advice, some history, advice from experts and other walkers along with many fun tidbits of interesting information.
Its a new walker’s first book on race walking that contains information on other more detailed training books and resources.
Q: What do you hope people will take away from the book?
I hope they find the book interesting, helpful and fun to read. I hope they come away from reading the book, whether they are a newbie or veteran race walker and can say they learned something new.
Q: Where do you see race walking in the future?
I think race walking is a small unique sport that has been in the Olympics since 1932 and has a fascinating history but is struggling right now.
Race walking was always really meant to be a long-distance event and its 50km event has been dropped from the upcoming Olympics, creating a lot of worry.
I believe the future will be determined by what the small global walking community does to grow and promote an often-little known fun way to take walking to its limits.
Our Fitness Friday weekly feature is submitted and written by Christine Blanchette so please follow her on Twitter as well as her Run With It Youtube Channel.
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