60 épisodes

This is a podcast about the history of the sport of ultrarunning. An ultramarathon is generally a race of 50K (31 miles) or more. The sport became popular in the 1980s, but had been in existence since the late 19th century. This podcast will share history and tell stories about ultrarunning history generally before 2000.

Ultrarunning History Davy Crockett

    • Course à pied
    • 5.0 • 1 note

This is a podcast about the history of the sport of ultrarunning. An ultramarathon is generally a race of 50K (31 miles) or more. The sport became popular in the 1980s, but had been in existence since the late 19th century. This podcast will share history and tell stories about ultrarunning history generally before 2000.

    63: The 100-miler: Part 10 (1968-1969)

    63: The 100-miler: Part 10 (1968-1969)

    During the late 1960s, 100-mile races started to make a comeback both in England and in the United States. Walking 100 miles in under 24 hours became popular in Europe and similar events also started to be held in America, featuring a legendary lumberjack walker from Montana.



    Racing 100 miles also rose from the ashes. A long-forgotten indoor 24-hour race started up in Los Angeles California where western ultrarunners strived to reach 100 miles on a tiny track, up seven stories, in the busy downtown metropolis.



    But the most significant 100-mile race of the decade was held in 1969, at Walton-on-Thames in Surrey, England. The race featured many of the greatest ultrarunners of the world at that time who were interested in trying to run 100 miles. It was a fitting way to finish out the 1960s and news of the event would help spawn many other 100-milers in the 1970s. In America it re-opened the sport to distances longer than 50 miles.

    • 32 min
    62: The 100-miler: Part 9 (1961-1968)

    62: The 100-miler: Part 9 (1961-1968)

    During the 1960s, formal 100-mile races took a backseat to the shorter ultrarunning distances that were starting to draw talented runners into the sport from marathon running. The 50-mile distance was on ultrarunning centerstage as London to Brighton emerged as the premier world ultrarunning race along with Comrades Marathon, competed in South Africa.



    In New York City, Ted Corbitt started to organize ultradistance races with an eye to qualify runners for London to Brighton. In 1967 the first American 50-mile National Championship was held in Poughkeepsie, New York. Ultrarunning was growing again.



    In America, a 50-mile craze took place by the general public in 1963 due to comments made by President John F. Kennedy (see episode 4) and some bold individuals proved they could do a double: 100 miles.



    100-mile races were waiting to the wings to being competed seriously again. However, the 100-mile distance on foot fascinated the general public, especially men in the military. Many people in all walks of life found ways during the 1960s to achieve it.



    For the first time, Death Valley became a harsh target location for athletes that are now long-forgotten to prove they could overcome suffering and cover 100 miles during intense summer heat. These attempts received national attention and also frustrated Death Valley Monument rangers. But they would lay the foundational idea of what eventually became the Badwater Ultramarathon.

    • 33 min
    61: The 100-miler: Part 8 (1950-1960)

    61: The 100-miler: Part 8 (1950-1960)

    100-mile attempts mostly ceased across the world during the 1940s due to World War II. By 1946 some isolated 100-mile attempts reemerged, including a walking event in England where seven athletes accomplished the distance in less than 24-hours.



    Ultrarunning, at other distances, also came to life again in South Africa when the Comrades Marathon (55 miles) was held again in 1946 and the Pieter Korkie 50 km was established in Germiston. In England, the London to Brighton running race (52 miles) was established in 1951, using the famed road used by walking and biking events for decades earlier.  Ultrarunning was reawakening.

    • 30 min
    60: The 100-miler: Part 7 (1930-1950)

    60: The 100-miler: Part 7 (1930-1950)

    After decades of 100-mile races, matches and successful finishes in less than 24 hours before 1930, the Great Depression turned ultrarunners’ attention to more important matters – surviving. Opportunities to earn a living as a professional runner dried up as public interest waned. Memories of past accomplishments and records faded. Occasionally the newspapers would pull out of their dusty archives a story about Edward Payson Weston’s walking wonders which was treated as “believe it or not” oddities, rather than something that others could accomplish.



    But the spark of running or walking 100 miles on foot still smoldered during the next two decades despite the severe difficulties of the Depression and World War II. Isolated 100-mile accomplishments took place to remind the public what the human body could do, but 100 miles was still considered to be very far and out of reach by all but freakish athletes.

    • 30 min
    59: The 100-miler - Part 6 (1927-1934) Arthur Newton

    59: The 100-miler - Part 6 (1927-1934) Arthur Newton

    In the 1920s one of the greatest British ultrarunner ever appeared, who made a serious impact on the forgotten 100-mile ultrarunning history before World War II. He was Arthur Newton of England, South Africa, and Rhodesia was a rare ultrarunning talent who had world-class ability in nearly all the ultrarunning distances from 50 km to 24-hours. Newton learned most of his serious running on a farm in remote Africa and was bold enough to step onto the world stage and beat everyone. His dominance in the early years of South Africa’s Comrades Marathon (54 miles) helped the race get off the ground to become the oldest and largest ultramarathon in the world.



    But Arthur Newton’s best distance was 100 miles. With few 100-mile races to compete in during the 1920s, he resorted to participating in highly monitored solo events to prove that a farmer from Africa was the best in the world, and he was. His 100-mile experience will be shared, but also a good portion of his life story needs to be explained to understand the man, the ultrarunner, one of the greatest, Arthur Newton.

    • 32 min
    58: The 100-miler - Part 5 (1902-1926) England

    58: The 100-miler - Part 5 (1902-1926) England

    The London to Brighton race, including its 100-mile version has a hallowed place in ultrarunning history. Episode 57 covered the history of 100-mile races held in America in the early 1900s before World War I. But during this period, there were 100-mile races held in other places around the world, especially in England. During the early 1900s a remarkable shift occurred. In the late 1800s, America was the home for ultra-distance walking competitions. But as pedestrian competitions fell out of favor and outlawed in the U.S., ultrawalking ceased for a time. The shift went back to the old country and 100-mile amateur walking competitions eventually became very popular in England.

    • 32 min

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