Olympic Hopeful To Race Walk The Great Manchester Run

Olympic hopeful Creighton Connolly walks faster than most people can run. 

The international race walker will be moving at full speed in the Morrisons Great Manchester Run on Sunday, May 10.

Creighton, a final year PhD human geography student at Manchester University, is using the 10k event in his build up for the 50km race walk event at the Pan American Games in Toronto in July, and next year's Olympic Games in Rio.

He is one of the top walkers in his native Canada with a personal best of just 42 minutes over the 10km distance. 

That that would put him in the top 500 finishers out of a field of up to 40,000 runners  in the Manchester Run – even though he will have walked the entire route! 

Creighton, aged 26, said: "I was a cross-country runner in Vancouver where I'm from but my coach strongly encouraged me to try race walking. I typically walk around 100k a week on average but I also do a lot of strength and conditioning work as well.

"My events usually have only around 40 competitors so to have up to 40,000 taking part in Manchester is going to be completely different. 

"My first Manchester Run clashes with the Pan American Race Walking Cup in Chile, but I decided to race here instead. It's a great city, the sporting facilities at Uni are excellent, where I'm supported by the Manchester Sport Scholar Programme. However, since there are no other competitive race walkers in Manchester, I often train at the National Race Walking Centre in Leeds.

Race walkers must maintain a particular technique throughout a competition, and can be disqualified after three infractions for either of the two rules. He explained:  "The first requires that one foot must always appear to be in contact with the ground and the other requires the supporting leg  be straight," explained Creighton, who has represented Canada on seven occasions.

Runners from at least 27 countries are taking part in the Morrisons Great Manchester Run. There is still time to enter by visiting www.greatrun.org/Manchester