Tom Eastler was a grad student at Columbia in 1966 when Israeli Olympic race walker Shaul Ladany introduced him to our sport. A self proclaimed mediocre walker who doesn’t even remember the times that he walked, Eastler probably would not have focused on race walking if not for the activities of his children.

His daughters Gretchen and Lauren got him involved at the Junior Olympic level at the beginning of the 1980s. As an official and coach, Eastler touched the lives of many race walkers. However, it was his tireless effort to get the race walk included in the Maine High School track and field program that will forever be his legacy. Currently, Maine is the only state to have race walking as an integral part of the state-wide track and field program. Eastler contributes his success to the presence of a very strong summer Junior Olympic track and field program in which race walking has always been a popular event.


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