Other Resources > Books > KING OF THE PEDS
King of the Peds is a 752-page, detailed presentation of key Pedestrian events that occurred in the latter half of the 19th century, and of key players in those events. It provides a most-interesting portal into the life and times in that period as it presents the day-by-day diary of long-distance walkers and their surroundings as they pursued fame and fortune. Your Webmaster heartily endorses this book for anyone who is fascinated by the Pedestrian Era.
The book is presented by author P. S. Marshall at his Web site at www.kingofthepeds.com. The following description appears on the book's back cover.
Did you know that in the late 1800's athletes walked up to 100 miles per day--for 6 days?!
Famous sporting personalities have been around for a long time. However, few will be aware that during the 1870ís and 1880ís, professional pedestrians or "peds" as they were fondly referred to, competed against each other in gruelling races for up to six days - and nights - on indoor sawdust tracks, getting just a few hours rest per day in makeshift huts beside the track, literally "eating on the trot" and undergoing tremendous hardships, all in the name of sport.
This incredible story begins in 1861, when an American made a bet to walk a certain distance in 10 days, and ends in 1888 when long distance pedestrianism worldwide witnessed its greatest feat, then died a sudden death.
This true account provides a fascinating insight into this hugely popular 19th century sport where massive amounts of prize money, a share of the gate receipts, and dazzling ornamental gold belts, were offered to successful athletes by ruthless promoters who made lucrative livings from the thousands of people who flocked to see them perform.
Often referred to as "walking matches," or "go-as you-please" races, these events took place in the big cities of America, the UK and Australasia. Madison Square Garden in New York and the Agricultural Hall in London were just two of the many venues which attracted the best contestants; but to be at the top of their chosen career a competitor had to be tough--very tough indeed!
You will journey into a world where men competed in appalling conditions, but exhibited unbelievable courage. This is a world which attracted the likes of "Black Dan," the "Brooklyn Cobbler," the "Cambridge Wonder," the "Flying Collier," the "Sharp Sheffield Blade," and the "Wily Wobbler," to take each other on in front of thousands of screaming fans.
This is a world which could provide incredible riches, but at a terrible price for those willing to push themselves to the limits of physical endurance. This is a world influenced by money and suffering; a world which had to end because its limits had been reached. Exciting sporting history, lost to the passage of time, is now brought to the public's attention.
The careers of hundreds of professional international pedestrians are presented in this book. After considering all the evidence, I invite you the reader to decide who deserves to be crowned .... King of the Peds.
Copies of four images from the book, shown as miniatures at left, were provided by the book's author for my use at this Web site. They illustrate the flyers for, and sketches made at, high-profile races held in Islington (London) and New York City during the period from 1877-1879. I deeply appreciate the author allowing me to show you these images. Please understand that these images are not to be copied in any form without the written permission of the author of the book.
For larger copies of the miniature images at left, click on the miniature images.
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