World Champs Women’s 35K Walk — Make Mine A Double

Kimberley García led the way as all 3 medalists from the 20K duplicated their spots on the 35K podium. (ANDREW McCLANAHAN/PHOTO RUN)

IT TOOK JUST 2:39:16 for Kimberley García to stride her way into the recordbooks.

A week after the 28-year-old Peruvian’s stunning 20K win over Poland’s Katarzyna Zdziebło and China’s Shenjie Qieyang, she returned to the loop course outside Autzen Stadium and outwalked the same two top rivals — and 38 more — in the first 35 ever staged on the WC program.

She thus became the meet’s first double-winner. And the 1-2-3 slam by the same top three — Zdziebło claimed silver in 2:40:03, Qieyang bronze in 2:40:37 — represented the first time anything like that’s ever happened at this meet, as well.

Further, not since Robert Korzeniowski of Poland took the 20K and 50K titles at the ’00 Olympics had anything like this — male or female — ever happened at this level of global walking.

Not long after the 06:15 start on Friday morning García and Zdziebło bolted to the early lead and stayed in virtual lockstep past the 5K (22:36), 10K (46:27) and 15K (1:09:25) checkpoints. By 19K, though, the Peruvian had built daylight on the Pole.

And she simply continued pouring it on, reaching 20 in 1:31:49, 25 in 1:54:33, 30 in 2:17:05 and saving her best stuff for last. Concluding Ks of 4:31, 4:27 and 4:18 brought her home at least 300m in front.

Her time put her =No. 3 on the all-time list for this relatively new event. Only Russians Kladiya Afanasyeva (2:38:24 in 2019) and Margarita Nikiforova (2:38:49 this year) top her on the charts.

Draped in the Peruvian flag and the gold medal already hers, she hugged coach Andrés Chocho and began her victory rounds. The PA announcer called it “a phenomenal performance.” She conceded, “I guess I was just stronger.”

“Kimberly again made me proud,and made everybody in Peru proud, too,” said Chocho, who representing Ecuador, now laces ’em up for the men’s 35K on Sunday.

Greece’s Antigóni Drisbióti (2:41:58), and Spain’s Raquel Gonzalez (2:42:27) and Laura García-Caro (2:42:45) claimed the 4-5-6 spots.

USA fielded a full trio and put Dr. Maria Michta-Coffey (2:58:51), Dr. Stephanie Casey (3:00:54) and Miranda Melville 3:05:31) in 22-24-29.

For Casey, a Portland general practitioner, it represented a remarkable comeback — she’d fractured her spine in a fall in January. “I was out for 6 weeks,” she said. “I was lucky just to be here.”

“The long walk” on the WC program — as compared to the 20K, a relative sprint — remains in a state of flux.

The men’s 50K had been standard at Worlds since the meet’s ’83 origin. It was joined by a women’s 50K at London in ’17 and Doha in ’19.

But now the sport’s higher-ups are in tinkering mode, Some declared the 50K (31.1 miles) — either gender — insufficiently “dynamic.” Others alleged it wasn’t exactly telegenic. So the 50Ks of 2019 — men and women — evolved into the 35Ks of Eugene.

And now those guardians of the sport’s vital contents are at work once more, Word is out that the walks program at Budapest ’23 will again be 20Ks and 35Ks for men and women, but that the Paris Olympics of ’24 is set to see the two standard 20Ks along with some form of 35K mixed-sex team-scored event.


WOMEN’S 35K WALK RESULTS

(July 22; 1-kilometer loop)

(temperature 57F/14C; humidity 85%)

1. Kimberley García (Per) 2:39:16 NR (=3, =3 W) (MR)

(23:26, 23:01 [46:27], 22:58 [69:25], 22:24 [1:31:49], 22:44 [1:54:33], 22:32 [2:17:05], 22:11);

2. Katarzyna Zdziebło (Pol) 2:40:03 NR (6, 6 W)

(23:26, 23:01 [46:27], 22:58 [69:25], 22:35 [1:32:00], 22:40 [1:54:40], 22:46 [2:17:26], 22:37);

3. Shenjie Qieyang (Chn) 2:40:37 NR (7, 7 W)

(23:31, 23:24 [46:55], 23:06 [70:01], 23:04 [1:33:05], 22:59 [1:56:04], 22:30 [2:18:34], 22:03);

4. Antigóni Drisbióti (Gre) 2:41:58 NR (8, 9 W)

(23:51, 23:41 [47:32], 23:31 [71:03], 23:21 [1:34:24], 23:00 [1:57:24], 22:44 [2:20:08], 21:50);

5. Raquel González (Spa) 2:42:27 PR (9, 10 W)

(23:51, 23:41 [47:32], 23:31 [71:03], 23:21 [1:34:24], 22:44 [1:57:08], 22:22 [2:19:30], 22:57);

6. Laura García-Caro (Spa) 2:42:45 PR (10, x W)

(23:51, 23:41 [47:32], 23:32 [71:04], 23:21 [1:34:25], 22:49 [1:57:14], 22:38 [2:19:52], 22:53);

7. Maocuo Li (Chn) 2:44:28 PR

(23:52, 23:41 [47:33], 23:31 [71:04], 23:30 [1:34:34], 23:26 [1:58:00], 23:14 [2:21:14], 23:14);

8. Viviane Lyra (Bra) 2:45:02 PR

(23:51, 23:42 [47:33], 23:31 [71:04], 23:21 [1:34:25], 23:12 [1:57:37], 23:36 [2:21:13], 23:49);

9. Serena Sonoda (Jpn) 2:45:09 PR; 10. Lamei Yin (Chn) 2:46:02 PR; 11. Olga Niedziałek (Pol) 2:49:43 PR; 12. Magaly Bonilla (Ecu) 2:50:39; 13. Inês Henriques (Por) 2:51:12; 14. Nadia Gonzalez (Mex) 2:52:06 PR; 15. Mirna Ortiz (Gua) 2:54:00; 16. Paola Pérez (Ecu) 2:54:15; 17. Galina Yakusheva (Kaz) 2:54:50 PR; 18. Evelin Inga (Per) 2:56:04; 19. Vitória Oliveira (Por) 2:57:37; 20. Elisa Neuvonen (Fin) 2:57:42 PR; 21. Alejandra Ortega (Mex) 2:58:46;

22. Maria Michta-Coffey (US) 2:58:51 PR (2, 2 A);

23. Hana Burzalová (Svk) 2:59:32 PR;

24. Stephanie Casey (US) 3:00:54 PR (5, 5 A);

25. Yasury Palacios (Gua) 3:01:16; 26. Ana Veronica Rodean (Rom) 3:01:29; 27. Efstathía Kourkoutsáki (Gre) 3:02:27 PR; 28. Aura Morales (Mex) 3:04:50;

29. Miranda Melville (US) 3:05:31 (x, 9 A);

30. Elianay Pereira (Bra) 3:05:39 PR; 31. Mayara Luize Vicentainer (Bra) 3:06:10; 32. Ema Hačundová (Svk) 3:07:02 PR; 33. Jeanethe Mamaní (Bol) 3:07:16 PR; 34. Kelly Ruddick (Aus) 3:11:55; 35. Sandra Silva (Por) 3:17:23 PR;… dq—Polina Repina (Kaz), Tiia Kuikka (Fin);… dnf—Tereza Ďurdiaková (CzR), Nadiya Borovska (Ukr), Mihaela Acatrinei (Rom), Hristína Papadopoúlou (Gre).

(leader splits: Zdziebło 23:26; García 46:27, 69:25, 1:31:49, 1:54:33, 2:17:05)

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