Does walking sound like a relaxing pastime to you? Think again. For a brief period of time in America, competitive walking was the hottest spectator sport. More specifically, it was known as pedestrianism. In the 1870s to the 1890s, people would watch competitive walking races take place indoors, outdoors, in small towns, in big cities, and anywhere else. Gambling was a huge draw to walking events. People could bet on the first person to drop out, the first to achieve 100 miles, the first to finish, etc. Pedestrians were also susceptible to offers from gamblers wanting to ensure their wins by fixing races.
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