Who knew watching someone walk would be a more popular spectator sport than baseball, football or horse racing? During the 1870s and 1880s, that was the case. Sold out arenas watched competitors walk around tracks almost non-stop for six days straight going over 500 miles. Some walking contests were created from wagers that had athletes walk hundreds of miles between cities….in the snow! Pedestrianism may be the long lost relative of our sport! Author Matthew Algeo joins The Nation to teach us about a long-forgotten sport, known as pedestrianism. This sport spawned America’s first celebrity athletes, made them rich and opened the doors for immigrants, African Americans and women.
Matthew Algeo has written many books that evolve around interesting events in American history. He is a journalist that has reported from four continents and these stories have appeared on some of the most popular public radio programs. Matt currently lives in Sarajevo with his wife, Allyson, and his daughter, Zaya.
His book, “Pedestrianism: When Watching People Walk Was America’s Favorite Spectator Sport” is a fun read that might teach you some strategies on how to be a better runner!
Find out more about Matthew and his other books on his website