English Race Walkers take on the World Athletics Race Walking Tour

A small team of four athletes travelled to La Coruna in Spain to compete at the gold level World Athletics Race Walking Tour. The team was made up of three seniors, Callum Wilkinson (Enfield & Haringey), Cameron Corbishley (Medway & Maidstone, Andi Drake) and Erika Kelly (Northern Isle of Man, Tom Craggs) who competed over the 20km distance; and junior Abby Hughes (Taunton, Dean Miller) who was making her international debut over 10km.

It was all to play for as the senior athletes were chasing European and Olympic Qualification times, hoping to take advantage of the famously fast course in the North West of Spain. The weather was favourable, damp and cool, offering excellent racing conditions whilst the UK basked in the summer sunshine.

La Coruna race walk team photo

The women took to the road first, with Erika maintaining a sensible pace from the early fast kilometres set by the leaders. This was followed shortly after by the junior women's 10km race.

Erika settled into the race working hard in a world class field, she showed determination and consistency. She sadly attracted the judges' attention collecting a two minute penalty, bravely finishing the full distance in 56th position in 1.46.38.

Abby Hughes started at a very quick pace, getting slightly carried away with competitors which she unfortunately paid for midway through the race. She was able to rally and finish very strongly with a clean slate from a technical judging point of view. She finished overall in 6th place with an incredible personal best of 51:35 on her international debut.

Callum Wilkinson at La Coruna race walk

Callum Wilkinson and Cameron Corbishley’s campaign started two hours later at 7pm. Callum returned to only his second 20km race this season after a long period of injury and rehabilitation. He looked strong and tucked into the leading pack of top world leading race walkers. Callum’s consistent kilometres set him up in the first half of the race, looking comfortable and in control, holding on into the second half. The pace dropped slightly in the latter stages to finish in a credible 30th, with a personal best of 1.20.27 under the European and Olympic B qualification, a mere 17 seconds outside the A standard.

Cameron Corbishley at La Coruna race walk.

Cameron started well with consistent pacing however, around the 15km point he started showing signs of distress, he managed to finish with a stoical performance in 68th place. Despite his time being below what he expected (1.26.37), it was still a valuable experience to compete on the world stage.

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Report by Verity Snook

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