Latest News

For current news and happenings for the Tidewater Striders Walkers visit the All About Walking Forum.

Jordan “Buddy” Levitin recently completed a study of The History of Walking in the Tidewater Striders, Inc. 1972 – 2009 (revised edition).

Recently added: The History of Walking in the Tidewater Striders, Inc. 2010-2014.

Latest update: Record of Virginia Senior Games Race Walks, 1999-2016 by Jordan Levitin.

The Tidewater Striders Walkers article on Developing Organized Walking within a Running Club is now posted on Dave McGovern’s Web site.

2016 Walking Grand Prix and Walking Participation

Walking Participation Standings | Walking Grand Prix Standings

First Marathon at Age 64

By Richard Pidgeon

I have never been athletic, but I did start walking for fitness in February 2011, 62 years old then. My dad and his brothers all died from heart disease so it made sense to “take some steps” to strengthen my heart. In the past exercise programs have always failed, sometimes due to injuries like hernia or shoulder separation but usually motivation was the problem. Injuries shouldn’t be a problem if the exercise was walking and motivation issues could be overcome by using various scenic walking sites, I thought. By April I’d walked at First Landing State Park, Norfolk Botanical Gardens, Virginia Beach Oceanfront, and all around the neighborhood and those places started seeming pretty familiar.

About mid month I decided I needed a goal: the Rock and Roll Half Marathon. It made a difference that kept me going. I got some books on walking from the library and learned a little about stretching and nutrition. I bought a Garmin Forerunner 305 as a training aid after doing some on-line research. Now I had a record of my workout and could relate heart rates to paces and distances. By September, after lots of four mile loops in the neighborhood and some longer walks of 8 and 10 miles I was ready. The Rock and Roll went well; I was hot, tired, and dizzy at the end, but achieved my goal. It was my first athletic event.

Near the end of that race, heading north on the Virginia Beach Boardwalk toward the distant finish line, a woman next to me held out her hand and introduced herself as Lizzy Shepard, a racewalking coach with the Tidewater Striders. We walked next to each other for a mile or so and she encouraged me to join the Striders and a group of racewalkers that meet on Saturday mornings at Mount Trashmore. I was a walker but Lizzy saw me as a racewalker. A couple of months later I got on the Striders web site and emailed the walking POC, Heidi Sleasman, a request for walking information,. She got back to me with the time and place to meet that coming Saturday. I joined the Striders that day.

The next Saturday I went to Mt Trashmore and met some of the group. I learned the attendance can change from week to week depending on each person’s races or other commitments, and so I met more of the Striders walking community as time went on. Walkers of different levels of ability walk at different paces in groups or singly. I found all of them to be supportive and willing to share useful information. One piece of good advice was to read Boomerwalk, by Brent Bohlen, who shows walking is a program for someone of any age. A racewalking clinic would help me, I was told, and I attended one given by Dave McGovern.

It was fun for me to try to keep up with the Big Dogs who start out fast and often pick up the pace with each two mile loop. I could hang with them for a little while but not a full loop. One day a few months later I did keep up for a loop and four more, a total of ten miles. I was thrilled.

In 2012 I entered Striders Distance Series, Elizabeth River Run, USATF judged racewalking events at VA Senior Games and USATF Regional Championships, the Summer Series, Rock and Roll Half Marathon, Yeah Buddy Half Marathon, and Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon. The amount of help the Striders walking group has given me along the way is surprising. Participating with the Tumor Busters team of walkers at the 24 Hour Cancer Relay fundraiser in April was a highlight for 2012, and we had a very successful event. Between these events was training and finding the motivation to train was not an issue now. With so many events and not wanting to do poorly in front of your friends how could a person not want to train? In June I registered for the 2013 Shamrock Marathon. Those Striders around me told me I could do it and I believed them.

This year I started with the Hair of the Dog and “enjoyed” the Distance Series, the longer version this year. The day the second DS race was to be held but was cancelled due to weather I met two of the Big Dogs at Mt Trashmore for 16 miles in the ice and snow. Between those events I was training at different speeds and distances up to 20 miles. I was ready!

Shamrock Finish LineThe only problem was that on March 17 I was sick. Bronchitis had bit me bad and all week I’d been coughing a lot making it hard to sleep. I’d been to the doctor during the week and had cough syrup that worked but left me feeling so strange I stopped taking it the Friday before the race. On Sunday the race went fairly well, extremely well considering everything. “Big Dog” Steve Shapiro walked with me and his support was a major reason why I did well that day. Before the race Strider Cindy Alexander painted green beards on us – a source of compliments throughout the race. That’s pretty much it. The story behind my first marathon at age 64 is a lot longer than the story of the race itself, just as the training before any race is longer that the race itself. I have to admit it was an emotional moment at the finish line hearing my name broadcast over the speaker system for completing a marathon!

Those in the Tidewater Strider’s walking contingent have taught me, encouraged me, and inspired me. You might say I’m a walking collection of many valuable pieces information, thanks to them. Some of those walkers are cancer survivors or have chronic health issues, something I thought about during the marathon. I want to give special thanks to those giving extra encouragement and personal support to me: my wife Betsy, and Striders Cindy Alexander, Paula Graham, Lori Sherwood, Buddy Levitin, Steve Durrant, Hartley Dewey, and Steve Shapiro.

Training Events/Clinics

For up-to-date information please contact Paula at

General Links

Race walking – the sport

In national competition, USATF established an official definition of race walking to formally differentiate it from running. This definition evolved across several decades as officials attempted to better define the sport. Although many rules regulate competitive walking, only this definition (in two parts) serves to characterize legal race walking.

1) Race walking is a progression of steps so taken that the walker makes contact with the ground so that no visible (to the human eye) loss of contact occurs.
2) The advancing leg must be straightened (i.e., not bent at the knee) from the moment of first contact with the ground until in the vertical upright position.


If during judged competition, 3 different judges say they saw a walker violate either of these rules, they are disqualified. The course lengths are usually the same as runners, but 1500 meter, 3K and 8K distances are very popular also. The average time for regular race walkers is in the 11 to 13 minute range, regional and national walkers can be clocked in at 6 to 8 min. miles.


Walk Committee Chair

For more information about the Tidewater Striders walkers send an email to

Walking Committee Policies and Procedures

Walking Committee Policies and Procedures