Wednesday, June 8, 2016

V. 1. #25 Locals Who Accomplished Extraordinary Ultra Feats

V. 1. #25  Locals Who Accomplished Extraordinary Ultra Feats

During the 20th century we see people with local connections capable of and willing to pursue challenges of extreme distances. This blog is the first glimpse of some of these individuals who accomplished extraordinary feats.

In 1920 three outstanding walkers of the day, Nathan Glueck, Sebastian Linehan, and Earl Garrison were going to race walk 50 miles in an effort to qualify for the Olympic Trials and ultimately make the American Olympic squad for the Olympics that were to take place later that year in Antwerp, Belgium. This effort took place around the Cincinnati Gym track in the East End.

Linehan came out on top as he established a new American record of 9:24:09 for the distance. Garrison’s time was 10 hours, nine minutes and two seconds and Glueck failed to finish.  Unfortunately none of these individuals made the team heading for Europe.

Although this distance was impressive, it’s insignificant in comparison with what Dan O’Leary accomplished in 1907. O’Leary, an Irishman, was a top international walker of that era.

He felt that his greatest accomplishment occurred at the track adjacent to the Norwood Inn in Cincinnati where he walked 1000 miles.

He was 66 years old at the time. He would walk a mile at the beginning of each hour, about 15 minutes, and then rest for 45 minutes to recover before starting off again. At first this wasn’t difficult, but the continuous nights of broken sleep eventually took their toll. One account notes that, “In the middle of the night, O’Leary might sleep for 40 minutes but then be aroused by the Norwood Inn staff and volunteers, trudge outside to the track and walk a mile while judges and timekeepers monitored him, and the retire to his room, only to be woken up at the start of the next hour.

When O’Leary began his walk on September 8, 1907, he was 144 pounds.  When he finished on October 20, he was 122 pounds.  By the last week, O’Leary was periodically suffering from some form of dementia when woken up in the middle of the night. He thought he was a younger man back in the mid-1800s.  Then on Tuesday at 3:00 a.m., as the Ogden Standard in Ogden, Utah, described it, O’Leary was suddenly attacked by spasmodic derangement of the intestines, which threatened to prostate him and from which he was relieved by the administering of restoratives.  It was the most polite way possible of observing that O’Leary had diarrhea.

On his last day of walking, sores formed on his left foot.  For his troubles, O’Leary received $5, 000 from the International Tuberculosis Association, which asked him to conduct the stunt to raise awareness of their organization.”

He was an unusual person and he possessed strong opinions about taking care of himself.

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