Angelica Harris Race Walks Into The Path Of Greatness

Race walking is a skilled sport that most people don't take seriously. Angelica Harris may change your mind on that.


On the surface, race walking seems like a hobby you watch your parents do in the evening when they are paired with friends and trot around their neighborhood. But when you attempt it yourself, the appreciation factor emerges.

I wasn't much of a race walker, but I have seen the likes of Taylor Ewert bring notoriety to the sport, though she was a double threat in running and walking as a high schooler. Then, years ago, I watched a local from Elgin called the "Elgin Sharks" dominate the race walking ranks. 

This all brings us to Angelica Harris. She ran cross country and track for South Elgin High School. Read along as she tells her story!

In her own words: 

"I started racewalking when I was twelve in 2018 after being introduced to the Elgin Sharks in middle school for cross country. They also had a racewalking team that my mom suggested I join. After training for a few months, I won my first USATF junior Olympic meet at the 3000m distance, and it quickly became my passion. 

I continued training for racewalking while competing on South Elgin's track, cross country, and soccer teams when I entered high school. Since racewalking is not included in IHSA track and field, I had to travel out of state for all of my USATF-sanctioned meets or invitationals, like Penn Relays. 

After progressing to the 10k distance, I made my first US team in my junior year of high school. Qualifying for the 2022 World Racewalk Team Championships in Oman, where I raced the U20 10k. At 16 years old, I was the youngest in the field. Later that year, I qualified for the U20 World Championships in Colombia. 

After making my first two US teams, my goals changed. I no longer strived to be the best in the country since. Unfortunately, there are limited competitive opportunities presented by high schools and universities nationwide. Still, I wanted to be competitive internationally.

After high school, I wanted to continue racewalking. There are two options for racewalking after high school: racing in the NAIA or continuing on your own. After receiving a full-ride scholarship, I prioritized academics and went to Vanderbilt University. I continued training alone around campus and was not initially granted access to the track, which was extremely challenging as an elite athlete. 

Although I trained alone, majorly on a treadmill, and was in the middle of the semester, I was able to qualify for the 2024 World Racewalk Team Championships in Turkey. 

As a racewalker, I have encountered many times when people will make fun of the sport for how it looks or don't understand the rules that govern the technique. As a sport, racewalking does not have the exposure within schools to produce more competitors. One of my goals is to increase the awareness of the sport and the number of racewalkers nationwide.

Career-wise, my ultimate goal is to make an Olympic team. Before then, I hope to successfully transition to the 20k distance (contested in the Olympics) from the 10k distance and finish my U20 year strong in Lima at Worlds."