"It's very popular with the other athletes and with the petroleum jelly industry."
Speaking at the end of last weekend's U.K. athletics World Championship trials, Olympic Gold Medalist from 2000, Jonathan Edwards, fiercly rejected recent media claims that walking races are just 'ministry-of-silly-walks' entertainment, rather than a genuine athletic endeavour.
"Yes, it's true that the other athletes do find the walking extremely amusing. Much the same as watching bicycles ridden by extremely fat men in tight shorts, ideally when they fall over. Or a care-in-the-community case on X Factor. You know it's wrong to laugh, but somehow, especially if there's no one else in the room, you can't stop yourself. But to suggest that the walking is only a joke is surely to miss the point completely; it is so much more than that."
Edwards, who has built a new career as a BBC commentator since retiring from professional athletics, went on to explain "Most importantly, competitive walking takes the focus off my own event [triple jump, or 'hop-step-and-jump' as most people may better know it]as being the most pointless sporting discipline since the Egg & Spoon and Sack races lost their Olympic status."