Harper Sets U.S. Record
Carroll College Computer Science professor Steve Harper set an American single age record for 67 year olds in the 50K race walk at the USATF 50 Km National Race Walk Championships in Santee, California, on January 20, 2018. Harper walked the 31.1 miles in 5:57:12. It broke the old record by over 27 minutes set by George Knox of Ohio back in 1978 in a time of 6:24:18. (A few years ago, Harper set the single age world record for 64 year olds.)
The record almost didn’t happen. “I got my first warning after only about a mile” Harper stated, “and I thought maybe I came all the way to San Diego for nothing.” In race walking, the competitor must have at least one foot touching the ground at all times and must also have a straight knee from the time the foot hits the ground until it comes under the body. Judges issue warnings if either rule is violated. After three warnings, the athlete is disqualified, and is removed from the race. “I got the second warning after only about 10 miles,” Harper continued, “and had to be extra careful the other 21 miles, but made it without any more warnings. It was tense for the last 4 hours.” Harper finished 12th overall in the race that featured the fastest young American racewalkers as well as some international walkers.