Summary of “The Insane 6-Day, 500-Mile Race That Riveted America”

The men on the track were Edward Payson Weston and Dan O’Leary, and what played out before a screaming fan base was more than just a race.
The two competitors drew lots to determine track position: Weston would walk on the inside track, O’Leary on the outside.
According to one observer, O’Leary walked with a “Straight form, quick stride, and bent arms.” He held his head up and looked straight ahead. Meanwhile, Weston seemed “Rather to drag than throw his feet.” Worse still, the observer bemoaned how he seemed “To carry his head on his breast and to see nothing but the dirt before him.” O’Leary’s crisp form translated into results, and he shot into the lead, completing his first mile in 11 minutes and 3 seconds.
Weston was convinced that fatigue would overcome O’Leary before the race ended.
Finally, as Saturday morning dawned, the outcome no longer felt like a question: O’Leary was ahead, 425 miles to Weston’s 395.
O’Leary paused, caught his breath-and then continued walking.
Men like O’Leary and Weston became celebrated heroes, seeing their images immortalized on some of the first cigarette trading cards, a precursor to baseball cards.
Great walkers like Weston and O’Leary didn’t stop walking, even as pedestrianism faded in popularity.

The orginal article.