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

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Manage episode 273729184 series 2396657
על ידי Davy Crockett התגלה על ידי Player FM והקהילה שלנו - זכויות היוצרים שמורות למפרסם, לא ל-Player FM, והשמע מוזרם ישירות מהשרתים שלכם. הירשמו כדי לעקוב אחר עדכונים ב-Player FM, או הדביקו את כתובת העדכונים באפליקציות פודקאסט אחרות.
By Davy Crockett 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. Race-Walking 100 miles In England during the 1960s, popularity for walking 100 miles using race-walking rules, grew and 145 walkers became British “Centurions” for the first time. In 1911 the Surrey Walking Club established the Brotherhood of Centurions to honor those who walked 100 miles in 24-hours or less. (See episode 58). Many walkers from the Netherlands started to participate as the 1960s walking craze spread across Europe. The Dutch founded their own Centurion club in 1966. Huw Neilson, age 44 of Welwyn Garden City, England, an aircraft worker, was a member of the Woodford Green Athletic Club. He was a very experienced walker who became a centurion back in 1948. In 1955 he walked London to Brighton and back (about 104 miles), establishing the fastest time on the course since the race was reestablished after World War II, with a time of 18:26:27. On October 15, 1960, Neilson beat the all-time world 100-mile walking record, walking around a 440-meter track at Walton-on-Thames. He reached 100 miles in 17:18:50. He then continued on, and in 24 hours reached an amazing 131 miles, breaking a world record that had existed for 52 years. His records are still held to the present-day. Larry O’Neil – America’s Walking Champion Lawrence “Larry” Ernest O’Neil (1907-1981) of Kalispell, Montana, was a lumber industry executive, or “lumberjack.” At a youth he moved from Montana to Pomona, California and attended college in Clairmont. He dabbled in baseball, basketball, swimming and track, but never advanced beyond the level of junior varsity. He was only 120 pounds and was afflicted by tonsillitis which was believed at the time to cause a weakened heart, requiring him to get permission to participate in sports. After graduation from college in 1928, with a degree in economics, O’Neil joined his father’s lumber business in Kalispell and then founded the Forest Products Company, a retail lumber yard in Kalispell. He began training to be a marathon runner, hoping to run at Boston in 1932. However, he injured his Achilles tendon at work and that finished his serious running career. But with his arduous outdoor life in Montana, he stayed very physically fit. Kalispell, Montana In 1964 he attended a National AAU meet held in Kalispell, Montana. It included a 3,000-meter walking race. O’Neil came to watch. He explained, “I looked at the track and field program and saw this 3,000-meter walking event. I didn’t know what it was, but I figured it would be the easiest event of the meet. About that time, there was an announcement over the loudspeaker that two walkers had dropped out.” Walkers were recruited from the stands and O’Neil, age 57, hustled over to enter on a dare. He did well, finishing 4th out of 10 walkers. O’Neil remembered, “I’m sure my form back then might have been declared illegal today. Some judges must have been wearing dark glasses to allow us to finish.” O’Neil discovered that walking long distances were his forte a started seriously competing ...

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