Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America's Favorite Spectator Sport

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Now largely forgotten, competitive walking was something of national craze in the 1870s and ’80s, staged in sold-out arenas where the idolized pedestrians tried to trek as many as 600 miles in six days. Author Matthew Algeo, who recently published a book on the pastime, sheds light on its rather juicy history, which includes gambling and fixing scandals, doping accusations hurled at 18th-century A-Rods and the reason competitors downed bottles of champagne while on foot.


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