1. Definition of Nordic Walking

NW walking is moving forward with alternating movements of the arms and legs, 
maintaining constant contact with the ground, in such a way that the simultaneous loss of contact of both feet and both poles with the ground is not visible to the naked eye. During the walk, poles dedicated to the discipline of Nordic Walking 
are used.

When walking, follow the rules:

  • alternating leg and arm work while vigorously pushing off with the poles,
  • repulsion with poles set at an acute angle to the ground,
  • carrying the poles after bouncing above the ground,
  • vigorous deposition and repulsion with sticks,
  • actively wedge the poles between the offending and the offending leg,
  • when overtaking, do not change your walking path,
  • act ethically, morally, and in accordance with approved social norms.

While walking, it is not permitted to:

  • running, running up, jumping, leaping, flying phase
  • vulgarities or behavior highly deviating from accepted social norms, aggressive behavior,
  • aggression, violence, unsportsmanlike conduct towards other competitors and spectators on the racecourse,
  • intentionally obstructing overtaking,
  • leaving the course without the permission of the judge,
  • shortening the route of the march or leaving it without the permission of a judge,
  • failure to comply with the competition judge's command related to competition or participant safety,
  • participation after consuming alcohol, intoxicants, or drugs,
  • three yellow cards will result in disqualification.

2 Competition participant's equipment and supplies

  1. Clothing - sportswear, which allows to evaluate the marching technique,
  2. Poles - for Nordic Walking, the length of which is adapted to your height (put the pole at a right angle to the ground, so that the angle between the arm and forearm is 90 degrees with an acceptable error of +/- 10 degrees),
  3. It is allowed to take on the route e.g. electronic equipment, water containers, gels, energy bars, etc., provided that they do not disturb other competitors and do not impede communication between competitors and referees and technical service of the competition,
  4. It is recommended that the competitor has two numbers attached, one on the chest and one on the back, in such a way that they are visible to the judges and the technical services of the competition,
  5. It is forbidden to use headphones or other items that hinder verbal communication for reasons of safety and efficient organization of the competition.

3 The competition route

  1. typical distances in the walking competition are: 5 km, 10 km, 21.1 km, 42.195 km
  2. It is recommended to organize the competition on loops the sum of which is 10km (e.g.: 2.5km, 5km, 10km),
  3. It is recommended that the surface on which the competition takes place is soft. It is allowed to compete on hard or mixed ground,
  4. The Main Judge is responsible for admittance and verification of the route for the competition.
  5. It is recommended that the routes are lined at least on the inside of the route, and at events of Polish Championships rank on both sides of the competition route.

4 Route metering

  1. Measurement of the route length must be carried out with a mechanical wheel or an electronic wheel, however, it must be calibrated twice over a distance of 100 m on a hard surface before and after the measurement. The measured distance of 100 meters to calibrate the caster must be made with a tape measure,
  2. Should be measured along the shortest possible line on which the athlete can move.
  3. Cannot be shorter than the distance officially stated.
  4. A "safety factor against too short a route" of 0.001% is recommended. This means that each kilometer of route should have a "measurement length" of 1001 m.

5 Judging

  1. It is recommended that functional judges be appointed:
  • chief judge;
  • route judge;
  • launch judge;
  • finish judge
  • referee verifying the results (referee supervising the time measurement)
  1. combining referee functions is allowed,
  2. all NW judges should act independently of each other and their judgment should be based solely on their own observations made with the human eye.
  3. The judge may make his decision based on the footage provided by the participants or bystanders,
  4. It is recommended to appoint among the judges a minimum of one mobile judge on a bicycle who can act as a pilot of the competition on the first lap,
  5. In NW competitions there should be a minimum:
  • 2.5km loop - six judges, including the main judge,
  • A loop of 5 km and longer - ten judges, including the main judge.

6. Start

  1. It is recommended that the start of NW march competition be preceded by a pistol shot, other sound signal is acceptable. Pistol shot or other signal may be preceded by a common countdown,
  2. The command preceding the start is the command "on the spot" given by the announcer or the competition referee,
  3. The starting order is determined by the competition rules, but it is recommended that no more than 40 people start at the same time,
  4. If starts are made in age groups, the start of a different age category will result in adding time difference between the start of the appropriate category and the actual start + 2 minutes,
  5. After lining up competitors in the starting area, it is recommended that the Start Referee verifies the participants in terms of clothing, equipment used (length and type of poles) and general condition (behavior, suspicion of alcohol or intoxicants consumption),
  6. In case of not meeting the requirements, the start judge does not allow the competitor to start and orders to leave the starting sector. After completing the deficiencies, the competitor may start as the last in the competition, but to the starting time is added a penalty of 2 minutes.

7. refreshment and nutrition points

  1. Water and adequate food should be available at the start and finish line
  2. Refreshment points located at appropriate distances, recommended distances not greater than every 5km,
  3. In case of air temperature above 30 degrees C, refreshment points should be located at distances no greater than every 2.5km,
  4. food at nutrition points shall be easily accessible and may be served by authorized persons to the competitor
  5. A competitor who takes food in a place other than the designated one runs the risk of being disqualified by the referee,
  6. Refreshment and nutrition points are included in the nutrition zone. It includes a 20m section before and a 100m section after the refreshment or nutrition point. In this zone the competitors' arm work is not evaluated.

8 Warnings and Disqualifications
The competitor should be informed if the way he/she moves does not meet the conditions defined in article 1 of NW marching technique, violations of which will be punished with warnings:
Verbal Reminder - information to the player about technical errors made, without the need to stop the player.
WARNING (yellow card) - without stopping the player, showing a yellow card, stating the reason for the warning, recording in the referee's minutes. Three yellow cards (three requests in the referee reports) result in a request for disqualification.


  • Failure to drive the stick and push the stick back,
  • driving the poles at right angles,
  • Driving the poles past the cornered leg,
  • Failure of the hand (including thumb) to pass the hip line in the sagittal plane,
  • excessive forward bending of the body
  • lowering of the center of gravity, excessive forward bending of the body
  • Dragging the sticks on the ground (marking the rebound),
  • Sports gait, hip technique,
  • Working the arms in a plane other than the sagittal plane (frontal plane - called "mowing"),
  • disobeying the instructions of competition technical staff regarding safety of participants and affecting the efficient course of competition,
  • obstructing overtaking, blocking the route of other competitors, pushing,
  • using headphones while walking
  • others as designated by the judge.

DISQUALIFICATION (red card) - stopping a competitor, showing a red card, stating the reason for disqualification, recording in the referee's report. After receiving a red card, the competitor should leave the course.


  • running, running up, jumping, leaping, flight phase,
  • vulgarities or behavior highly deviating from accepted social norms, aggressive behavior,
  • aggression, violence, unsportsmanlike conduct towards other competitors and spectators on the racecourse,
  • Deliberate and persistent obstruction of overtaking,
  • leaving the course without the permission of the judge,
  • shortening the route of the march or leaving it without the permission of a judge,
  • Failure to comply with the competition judge's command related to competition or participant safety,
  • Participation after consuming alcohol, intoxicants, or drugs,
  • three yellow cards will result in disqualification.

9 Time measurement

Three alternative methods should be considered official

  1. Manual measurement
  2. Electronic measurement
  3. Measurement using a system with transponders

Additionally, lap intervals should be recorded where possible. 

10 Types of Results

There are three types of results:

  1. unofficial results - live competition coverage,
  2. preliminary results - are the first results of the competition prepared by the organizer after the last runner reaches the finish line and the judges deliberate. Preliminary results are always subject to protest and will be announced and displayed in the finish area and the competition office as soon as possible after the last competitor reaches the finish line. The time at which the preliminary results are displayed must be recorded in the relevant result list,
  3. official results - the official results of the competition are irrevocable. They are announced immediately after the deadline for objections has expired or after the competition jury has decided on the objection.

11. disqualification requests and disqualification

  1. If the referee observes that the manner of movement of a competitor is not in accordance with Article 1 of the PZNW, he shall make a motion to the chief referee to disqualify the competitor.
  2. when three requests for disqualification concerning the same competitor are presented to the chief referee, then the competitor is disqualified and is informed by the chief referee.
  3. Failure to communicate this information to the competitor cannot be a reason to 
    question the disqualification decision, even if the competitor has already crossed the finish line,
  4. Disqualified competitor should immediately leave the competition route.

12 Protests and Appeals

  1. Protests must be filed within 15 minutes of the announcement of the preliminary results.
  2. any protest shall be first reported orally to the chief referee of the competition by the competitor himself.
  3. The decision made by the main judge can be appealed to the appeal board. Appeal must be submitted within 15 minutes after the announcement of official results. It must be submitted in writing together with a deposit of 300zł. In case the protest is not accepted, the deposit will be forfeited.
  4. The Appeals Committee consists of a representative of the organizer, a representative of the Polish Nordic Walking Association and the main judge of the competition.
  5. The decision of the Appeals Board is final.

13 Functional persons during the competition

It is recommended to appoint functional persons for the preparation and conduct of the competition:

  1. leadership:
  • competition director
  • competition coordinator
  • chief referee
  • technical manager
  • secretary
  1. other functional persons
  • referees,
  • announcer,
  • doctor and paramedics,
  • electrician.

14 Other Guidelines.

Other guidelines not included in the Rules of Nordic Walking Competitions should be included in the regulations of a given competition, where they are defined in detail, e.g.: distance, date of the competition, route description, categories, distinctions, entry rules, etc.

15 Other Competition Conditions.

Main referee or competition organizer may not allow the competitor to start without giving any reason. 

16 .Interpretation of these rules rests with the competition organizer.

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