77: The 100-miler: Part 24 (1978-1979) Alan Price – Ultrawalker

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Manage episode 290900933 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 Episode 75 introduced the Fort Meade 100 held in Maryland from 1978-1989. Lost in the Fort Meade history of the late 1970s was the fact that it also attracted Centurion racewalkers who attempted to walk 100 miles in less than 24-hours. It was reported, “Some participants were walkers engaged in an odd-looking sport of walking heel-to-toe as fast as possible. It’s a small sport, there’s a lot of camaraderie in it, with only about 600 people participating nationwide.” Alan Price, an African American racewalker, was a fixture at Fort Meade 100 each year. He was an incredible athlete who became perhaps the greatest American ultra-distance racewalker ever. Price was truly an ultrarunning legend. Also covered in this episode is a division of the ultrarunning sport that most Americans have never heard about before. It is The Long Distance Walkers Association (LDWA) in England that started holding 100-mile walking events during the 1970s that attracted the general public and some 100-mile runners. The events set the stage for many of the modern 100-mile trail events. Alan Price – 100-mile walker Alan Eugene Price (1947-2015) was an African America walker from Washington D.C. who sold herbs and health products. He took up the ultra-walking sport in 1974, and explained, “I had been running the 880-yard run for a club called the Travelers. The trouble was that I never seemed to finish better than last. There was this one meet where I finished my usual last. Then I heard the announcer make the first call for a two-mile race-walk. I looked around and saw that only one person had responded. Since there were three trophies being given out for the event, I decided to give it a try. I accidently took third place.” At that time, marathon fields consisted of hundreds of runners, while racewalking fields included only about a dozen walkers. This helped him decide to stick with racewalking because of the better chance to win a trophy. It took Price some time to get the walking technique down. He said, "There can be a thin line between walking and running. It all depends on how the judges view it. When I first started out, I was guilty of things like not having both feet on the ground at all times. That made me more careful than anything else. It's no fun to go out for five or six miles and then have someone disqualify you." Bennicker Junior High School As a black American, Price was a pioneer in the sport. He became a member of the Potomac Valley Seniors track club and said he felt funny practicing his walking in the daylight in Washington D.C., so he would train in the darkness of night at the track at Bennicker Junior High School. He said, “People who don’t do this, think it’s easy. That’s because they haven’t tried it yet.” Just as today, the ultra-walking sport back in the late 1970s wasn’t well understood by the public. Price would be the object of taunts and laughter. "People saw the switching of the behind and arms flailing, and they seemed to get a big kick out of it. But after seeing for a while, they begin to realize that there must be some difficulty in it. People who saw me train in Malcolm X Park over the years respected what I was doing." Larry O'Neil Price first walked for personal satisfaction. He said, “It was something that I felt natural doing.” Then in 1976, he went to a meet at Niagara Falls, New York, where the top racewalkers in America were trying out for the Olympics. The top three finishers qualified, and he was only one minute behind. He said, “I was surprised, and it was at that point that I knew I could hang with the big boys.” Episode 63 introduced “Centurions,” a brotherhood of walkers who had reached 100 miles in a judged racewalking event. Larry O’Neil (1907-1981), a lumberjack from Kalispell, Montana was America’s 100-mile walking pioneer who dominated events during the early days, setting in 1967 the American out-door record of 19:24:34.

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