PERSONAL BEST: Summer Millard earned a bronze medal in the 3000m walk at the state championships.
PERSONAL BEST: Summer Millard earned a bronze medal in the 3000m walk at the state championships. Claudia Williams

This sport is no walk in the park

ATHLETICS: The sport of race walking receives heavy criticism from armchair sports fans about its legitimacy as a serious sporting event.

Nanango State High School athlete Summer Millard is a dedicated race walker and is set to prove that it is a highly technical sport.

"Some people think that it is not really a hard sport but it really is," she said.

"It is one of the most technical sports that they have at the Olympics and it is really hard to get the technique right."

Through changing her hip rotation for her race walking, Summer recorded a 2 minute and 16 second personal best time at the recent Queensland School Sport track and field championships.

In doing so, she earned a bronze medal in the 3000 metre race, exceeding her own expectations.

"It is technical, so you get feedback about it so that is good because you can always find ways to improve," she said.

"My coach was telling me that he thought I was going to do a really big PB and I did.

"I didn't think I would, but it makes a big difference and I was really happy to get a PB."

A strong start allowed Summer to overtake her competitors in the early stages of the race and then maintain her position to earn her a bronze medal.

Summer was in good company on the podium with the first two place getters earning gold and silver at the national championships in 2017.

She finished the race in 16 minutes and 32 seconds, 58 seconds within qualifying time, but as the third place getter will not have the opportunity to attend nationals.

This is her third bronze medal since she started competing in the sport in September, and she is determined to keep improving.

Leading up to the state championships, Summer's sessions would involve doing 10 repetitions of 200m of race walking followed by four 400m running efforts.

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