Marathons are commonplace now, but one of the earliest 20th-century long-distance races was the multiday, coast-to-coast Transcontinental Foot Race, little known now but an event that captured the world's imagination in 1928. The race began in Los Angeles and finished in New York City, covering 3,423.5 miles. Out of the 199 runners who began on March 4, 1928, only 55 finished 84 days later. Newspapers called it the Bunion Derby. The race was conceived by Oklahoma businessman Cyrus Avery at the height of the Roaring '20s, a time of optimism and excess. Charles Lindbergh had recently made the first solo trans-Atlantic flight. People tried to outdo each other with outrageous stunts. Dance marathoners danced for days, and pole-sitters sat atop flagpoles for weeks to set and break records. Avery teamed up with C.C. Pyle, the "P.T. Barnum of Professional Sports," to organize the race. The nearly 200 men of all races and nationalities who started the race faced a variety of obstacles—extreme weather, poor food and living conditions, prejudice, and injury. Speno's detailed, engaging narrative brings the times and the race vividly to today's readers. Chapters are broken up into topical subsections (on the "Good Roads Movement" and international participation, for instance), and plentiful archival material complements the lively narrative. An absorbing story of colorful times. (photos, maps, statistics, bibliography, source notes) (Nonfiction. 10-16)

 


Comments

03/09/2017 7:40pm

My father is always joining marathons and triathlon. He prefers triathlon. It is an athletic contest that has three consecutive events, usually, swimming, bicycling and distance running. My father joined this kind of activity every year for about 35 years He started it when he was 19 years old. He is 54 today. He has an incredible strength to join this kind of athletic contest.

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04/05/2017 1:20pm

Sounds like this race was very hard. It's quite strange I haven't knew anything about it before.

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05/16/2017 8:30am

The marathon is a long-distance running race with an official distance of 42.195 kilometres (26.219 miles, or 26 miles 385 yards), usually run as a road race.

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