During the late 1920's and early 1930's, a "marathon" craze swept the nation. We are not talking about the 26 mile 385 yard feat that is more associated with that word, but marathons of all sorts. Dance, Flagpole sitting, coffee drinking, and even talking marathons were the standard fare along with the bipedal races we commonly know and seemed to be more a testament to one's will than anything.
C.C. Pyle envisioned a coast to coast run (The Bunion Derby) in 1928 whereby entrants would run across the country in hopes of securing a $25,000 first place prize all for a $125 entry fee. 199 participants took on the challenge to run over 3, 000 miles averaging 40 miles a day on poorly constructed roads, shoes and diets. Just over 50 finished. The winner? One 20 year old Andy Payne who not only did it for his family, but more importantly to get a girl to recognize him.
Not quite as entertaining as Flanagan's Run, which is a fictional account of the Bunion Derby, but then again C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America was not meant to be entertaining in that sense. What it does do is give you an intimate, no holds barred account of men who struggled every day to get out on the road and face themselves and their own physical and mental limitations.
Overall a great read that more than anything forces me to look at those times when I am tired and say I have had enough. Have I? Can I go one step more?