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By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchPerhaps this is the tabloid episode of 19th century pedestrianism. In the late 1800s, ultrarunners (called pedestrians back then), both male and female spent a prolonged time away from their homes and families as they traveled to compete in races across American and in England. As with other professiona…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchOn April 24, 1897, ultrarunning/pedestrian champion Alice Robison was running in second place on the last day of a three-day race held at the Fifth Street Rink in East Liverpool, Ohio, with five runners. She was very intent on catching her long-time friend who was a few laps ahead of her. Needing a rest…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchBy 1906, when the pedestrian era was over, most of the elite pedestrians turned to legitimate professions to support their families. Daniel O’Leary was traveling for a big publishing house. John “Lepper” Hughes was in the real estate business, Jimmy Albert was a Texas cattleman, Robert Vint was an oil a…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchSteve BrodieThe 19th century ultrarunner was a different breed of athlete compared to those today who participate in the sport. A large number of those early runners were not necessarily the most outstanding citizens. For the vast majority, the motivation for participating was not to see what they could…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchToday’s ultras usually have few disruptions from outsiders or spectators. The most serious disturbances are typically from people who take down course flagging which can cause runners to go off course, potentially putting them in serious danger. But during the era of ultrarunning more than 120 years ago…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchSadly, some professional walkers and runners from the “pedestrian” era, more than 120 years ago, became afflicted by mental and physical illness during and after six-day runs, likely caused by the powerful drugs and stimulants that were used at the time, and also due to mental stress breakdowns. Enormou…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchThe sport of ultrarunning during the 19th century was truly filled with tales of strange things that are unthinkable and shocking to us today. This series of episodes presents a collection of the most bizarre, shocking, funny, and head-scratching events that took place in ultrarunning during a 25-year p…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchOn March 3, 1879, at the Fifth Regiment Armory in New York City, during Peter Van Ness’ attempt to walk 2,000 half-miles in 2,000 consecutive half-hours, one of the most shocking events in ultrarunning history took place. Van Ness, sleep deprived, drunk, and in intense pain, got hold of a gun and shot h…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchMany women participated in six-day races during the 1800s. With the great publicity of the Astley Belt Six-Day races, and the popularity of the new go-as-you-please format inviting running, the six-day race exploded into a craze in America and Great Britain. Of the 850 total starters in 85 six-day races…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watch As this concluding part of the Third Asley Belt Race opens, four elite ultrarunners were competing to be the Champion of the World in New York City in 1879, seeking to become the holder of the Astley Belt. The current world champion, Daniel O’Leary had apparently dropped out because of health reasons a…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchBy the end of 1878, at least 41 six-day races had been held in America and Great Britain since P.T. Barnum started it all with the first race in 1875. Daniel O’Leary of Chicago was still the undefeated world champion with ten six-day race wins. He was a very wealthy man, winning nearly one million dolla…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchIn 1878, Daniel O’Leary of Chicago was the undisputed world champion of ultrarunning/pedestrianism. He cemented that title with his victory in the First International Astley Belt Six-day Race in London, defeating seventeen others, running and walking 520.2 miles.The Astley Belt quickly became the most s…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchBy 1878, interest in ultrarunning/pedestrianism had taken a strong hold in Great Britain. The six-day race was viewed as a unique new branch of the running sport that fascinated many sporting enthusiasts. Like P.T. Barnum who was the first major promoter of ultrarunning in America, John Astley became th…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchIn America, 1876 had been a “loopy” six-day race year, with at least eighteen races held. Interest was high, but there were also skeptics. Closing out the last episode, Daniel O’Leary, of Chicago, the champion pedestrian of the world, reached 500 miles for the third time in six days, but his reputation …
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchThe year 1876 was a particularly important year in ultrarunning/pedestrian history and thus several episodes have covered the events held that year. It was the year when the six-day races started to spread across America for the first time.Lost in ultrarunning history, is the story of the first major si…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchUltrarunning in Ukraine has had a long, wonderful history since the early 1970s. As the country is being ravaged from war, ultrarunners around Ukraine have turned their attention to survival, defending their country, or fleeing as refugees to other countries. Ultramarathons, once held regularly in Ukrai…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchWomen's Six-Day RaceIn 1876, Chicago, Illinois was the six-day race capital of the world. A six-day race frenzy broke out in many other cities, after the incredible Mary Marshall vs. Bertha Von Hillern race was held in February 1876. (see episode 101). They showed America that not only could men pile up…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchIn early 1876 while Edward Payson Weston was taking on England in storm, embarrassing the British long-distance walkers and runners in the first six-day race in that country (see episode 99), the six-day race continued to be of growing interest in America, this time among women! Some in the press called…
 
By Davy Crockett and Phil LowryYou can read, listen, or watchIn Auburn, California, on the evening of July 30, 1972, an awards banquet was held at the fairgrounds for the finishers of the Western States Trail Ride, also known as the Tevis Cup. There was additional excitement that year among the exhausted riders, who early that morning had finished …
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchThe six-day challenge (running as far as you could in six days) originally started in England during the late 1700s. Fifty years later, in the 1820s, a six-day frenzy occurred as many British athletes sought to reach 400 or more miles in six days (see episode 91). But then, six-day attempts were essenti…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchIn 1875, Edward Payson Weston was the most famous ultrarunner (pedestrian) in the world. Like a heavyweight boxing champion dodging his competition to keep his crown, he avoided repeated challenges to race against the up-and-comer, Daniel O’Leary of Chicago, Illinois. The two were the most famous Americ…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchDaniel O'LearyBy March 1875, Edward Payson Weston, from New York City, was on top of the ultrarunning world (called Pedestrianism). He had just won the first six-day race in history, was the only person who had ever walked 500 miles in six days and held the 24-hour world walking record of 115 miles. Thr…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchAcross the Years race, established in 1983, is being held next week in Arizona for the 37th time. It is one of the oldest fixed-time races in the world that is still held annually. The race is always held at the end of the year, crossing over to the new year with a grand celebration. Through the years, …
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchP.T. Barnum featured ultrarunners (pedestrians) in 1874 who were attempting to reach 500 miles in six days, to bring paying patrons into his massive indoor Hippodrome in New York City 24-hours a day. Even though the first attempts by Edward Payson Weston and Edward Mullen came up short (see part 3), Ame…
 
By Davy CrockettYou can read, listen, or watchThe ultimate showman, P.T. Barnum of circus fame, was surprisingly the first serious ultrarunning promoter and established the first six-day race in America. He waswe famous for the saying “There’s a sucker is born every minute,” and figured out how to get America to come out by the thousands to watch s…
 
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