Friday, April 20, 2018

Pedestrianism As A Sport...!

Before baseball became the nation's favorite sport, the main attraction was a sport called pedestrianism was a national pastime.

As in all sports, the leaders quickly became superstars and heroes. Here is the story of one of them from Atlas Obscura.

The ‘Pedestrian’ Who Became One of America’s First Black Sports Stars
In 1880, Frank Hart wowed audiences at New York’s Madison Square Garden by walking 565 miles in six days.

BY DAVID SEIDEMAN APRIL 17, 2018



Frank Hart, taken by an unidentified artist, circa 1880, albumen silver print. NATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY, SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION

ON APRIL 10, 1880, NEW York’s original Madison Square Garden was packed with sports fans. Men in the arena roared. Ladies waved their handkerchiefs. A band struck up “Home Sweet Home,” the classic 1823 American folk ballad. They had come to see Frank Hart, one of the best “pedestrians” of his day.

“I’ll break those white fellows’ hearts!” Hart, an immigrant from Haiti, vowed before the race. “I will—you hear me!”

Eighteen men competed in the race. Three of them were African Americans, including Hart. After Hart crossed the victory line, fans showered him with bouquets of flowers. His trainer handed him a broomstick to hold the American flag aloft during his victory laps.

Hart had won a “six-day go-as-you-please” endurance race. “The rules were simple,” explained Mile High Card Company, a sports auction house, in 2010. “Participants, called ‘pedestrians’ were free to run, walk, crawl, and scratch their way around an oval track as many times as possible in the course of six days, sleeping on cots within the oval, and usually for less than four hours per day.” Hart set a new world record by walking 565 miles, or 94 miles per day. His prize was $21,567, including $3,600 he legally betted on himself. It was the equivalent of almost a half million dollars today.

Hart broke racial barriers in sports just 12 years after African-Americans achieved full citizenship with the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. And yet, in the 21st century, he has been largely forgotten. However, the recent discovery of a Frank Hart trading card, now for sale through Heritage Auctions, the nation’s largest collectibles auction house, has illuminated his legacy once more.

The very fact that these guys managed to do that many miles walking or running for 6 days just boggles my mind.You can read the rest of the story right here.

Coffee out on the patio one more time before the weather changes again.

11 comments:

deborah harvey said...

equivalent to half million today.
that is what boggles me about this story--how worthless our money has become!

Mamahen said...

Pretty impressive!

linda m said...

That really boggles my mind as well. Very impressive. Have a great weekend.

Momlady said...

I walked about 13 miles in five days on the beach. My legs let me know they weren't happy. Can't imagine walking as far as those guys did.

HermitJim said...

Hey Deborah...
Sort of lend a new perspective to money's worth, doesn't it?
Thanks for stopping by today!


Hey Mamahen...
Yes it was, for sure!
Thanks for coming over today!


Hey Linda...
I feel the very same way. You have a great weekend as well!
Thanks for the visit this morning!


Hey Momlady...
I can only imagine.
Thanks for stopping by this morning!

JO said...

I had never heard of this sport so never heard of this man. And to walk this just indoors on an oval track! And yes that sure was a lot of money.

Patio sounds good at your place, we are in for another round of awful winds.

Rob said...

And I thought and extra inning baseball game was a long sit!

Hermit's Baby Sis said...

And I have trouble doing my 3 miles some days!

Big Hugs ~

HermitJim said...

Hey Jo...
Not even a note in history now days.
Thanks dear, for dropping in today!


Hey Rob...
That is a long one for sure...6 days?
Thanks for coming by today!


Hey Sis...
Maybe it would be easier if you got paid like this man?
Thanks for the visit this morning!

Dizzy-Dick said...

I have trouble just walking out to the dumpster let alone as far and as long as he did.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
I hear ya on that, buddy. Must be an age thing, ya reckon?
Thanks for the visit today!