Race Walking at Tonbridge AC
Tom Bosworth's selection for the Rio Olympics follows 12/13 years of hard training and dedication.
He joined Tonbridge AC in 2003 and following in the footsteps of sister Emily took part in a walking race; from that he progressed to training sessions with a very active squad and was soon part of team which on six occasions won the National Grand Prix title.
By the time he was 18 Tom started to put in some very good national performances and his efforts won him a place at Leeds Beckett (Carnegie) University where a race walking academy had been set up by international walker and coach Andi Drake. Within two years Tom was selected to represent England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games 20k walk in Delhi. After that he continued to make either the England or GB team on a regular basis. He appeared in the 2014 European Championships in Zurich and 2015 World Championships in Beijing. In the last three years he has virtually re-written the UK record book and holds the best times at 3k 5k 10k and 20k. Click here to read more from Tom
Guy Thomas who is just 19 has also had an exceptional 18 months. Out of action for most of 2014 he set a very quick 10k PB in January 2015 knocking nearly nine minutes off of his previous best by winning both U20 and Senior Southern 10k walks. His performances over the rest of the season were impressive including a new U20 Kent County record for 3k and into this year he maintained the momentum. Guy was rewarded with selection for the junior GB team at the World Team Walking Championships in Rome where along with Callum Wilkinson (who recently won World Junior Track 10k Title) and Kent training partner Cameron Curbishley took fifth team place the best ever by GB juniors.
In the world junior trials Guy just missed qualification for the championships in Poland but was invited to attend and train with Tom Bosworth and others at the pre Olympic Camp at Font Remoy where he gained valuable experience. Guy took part in his first walking event when aged only 9.
Training at TAC
Both Tom and Guy trained for many years at Tonbridge track or the roads nearby. They were with a number of race walkers of all standards and still appear when in the area. Tom is now based in Leeds and Guy in Cirencester but they loyally retain their TAC memberships.
Race Walking History
Tonbridge Athletic Club have a proud tradition of producing top class race walkers. In the 1970s John Nye and Ted Ardley were two of the faster walkers in the UK. Freddie Baker was a 100 miles specialist.
The club had success in the junior championships in the 1980 s and a product of a very good team coached by Bill Collins (for whom the club promote a commemorative race every year) was Tim Berrett who eventually moved to Canada and competed for that country in may international including Olympics. Tim won medals in the Commonwealth Games. He too retained membership of TAC.
How to Start Race Walking
You have probably seen the walkers training either on the track or around Stacey Road. Why not give it a go? You could be the next Tonbridge international race walker or you may just want to do it to keep fit or augment your winter training in particular. Quite a number of walkers also enjoy and have success at cross country (perhaps it is because they do not get so muddy!). It is important that you maintain your current athletic discipline as well whether it be middle distance, long jump, shot or whatever you do until like Tom and Guy and others you actually find that you are good at it - you will be surprised what you can achieve.