Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Great American Footrace

The Great American Footrace is a documentary on the amazing 1928 "Bunion Derby" a footrace across the United States. Back then there was no highway system and roads were poor, so to celebrate the opening of Route 66 the footrace was promoted to gather publicity. Maybe people would realize, "If you could run across the country, certainly you could drive across it without fear." So a promoter who was likened to P.T. Barnum , one Charles. C. Pyle was hired to organize and run this trans-continental race with an advertised winners prize of $25,000.

This documentary highlights the 1928 era with historical video footage and photographs as it tells the tale of this great adventure. It also highlights a 19 year year old Cherokee youth who, "Simply thought he could do it." And he did. I remember reading about this race years ago in a book which may have been this one: The Bunion Derby: Andy Payne and the Great Transcontinental Footrace. There are newer books detailing this race including Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America, and Cash and Carry: The Spectacular Rise and Hard Fall of C.C. Pyle, America's First Sports Agent. The DVD or instant stream is on Amazon: Great American Foot Race, however I was able to watch the video online for free here: The Great American Footrace. Snag Films is a website that makes me want to get a Roku Streaming Player so that I can watch other documentaries like this for free on my television rather than on my computer.

Here is a preview of the movie. Click on it to see the whole movie.

 Here is a long biography of one of the participants as printed in Marathon and Beyond Magazine.
Stone lets you feel the misery of surviving on horrible food, sleeping in leaky tents, and running, on average, 40 miles a day over some of the most challenging terrain on the planet. After reading his account, you begin to understand how seemingly normal men could overcome the challenges of transcontinental racing. He gives you a window into the souls of the 55 men who finished the race.

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