I share below the content of two articles sent me by ultra-running historian Stefano Scevaroli, regards a 48h pedestrian event held in Grenfell, NSW on 18th March 1880.
Article 1 – 24 March 1880
Pedestrian Tournament – Our enterprising townsman, Mr. J. H. Lewis, was so taken up with the pedestrian tournament he witnessed in Forbes a few weeks back, that he determined to speculate in one on his return to Grenfell. He advertised it accordingly, and on the evening appointed for taking down the names of the contestants, 10 entries were made, and on Thursday evening last, the first night of the tournaments, they all on me to the match in the Oddfellows’ Hall. One of the number was a little girl about 13 years of age.
The match terminated at about 9:30 on Saturday night, when the following were declared the winners of the three prizes, viz:
- Logan (173 miles) £10
- John House (163 miles) £5
- Morgan Williams (160 miles) £2
A special prize of money, which was collected in the room, was also presented to W. Fitch, who held the fourth place, having very pluckily walked 157 miles.
This, I understand, is the best amateur walking yet accomplished in Australia. The entertainment was diversified with music and dancing on the two first evening, but on Saturday night the excitement was too great and the hall too crowded to admit anything of the kind. The whole affair proved a great success in every respect, and I think Mr. Lewis has good cause to be well satisfied with his spec.
THE WEATHER – We had a smart thunder shower on Monday afternoon, followed by steady rain during the night. I think there is more to come down before it clears up. It is wanted to soften the land for ploughing, as well as for grass. The prospects for winter are tolerable in this district, although business generally is dull.
Article 2 – 23 March 1880 (The Burrangong Argus, 24 March 1880 p3)
The 48 hours go-as-you-please pedestrian tournament, which commenced in the Oddfellws’ Hall at ten o’clock on Thursday evening last, came to a close at 9.30 on Saturday night when William J. Logan was declared the winner of the first prize, John Hoare, second, and Morgan Williams, third. The following are the names of the persons and the number (editor: bib) representing them on the scoring board at the close of the tournament:
- Willian J. Logan, 173 miles
- J. Gillespie, 97 miles
- James Warton, 107 miles
- F. Fitch, 157 miles,
- John Hoare, 163 miles
- W. Ley, 107 miles
- Miss Cundy, 83 miles
- M. Mohr, 102 miles
- W. O’Brien, 78 miles
- Morgan Williams, 160 miles
At the conclusion of the tournament the four first men were given three cheers, and also three were given for Mr. Lewis, the conductor, for the satisfactory manner in which he managed the affair all through. I have to mention that Logan knocked off travelling at 9 o’clock, which only made 47 hours, and I may also state that he was in very fair trim, and could easily have accomplished 180 miles had he tried — and I may also say that the other three leading men were in good condition. Logan completed his first 50 miles — without leaving the track — in twenty-three and a-half hours.
The attendence at the Hall was well maintained throughout. On teh first two evenings dancing was kept up till one in the morning, but on Saturday night such a thing was impossible as by 8 o’clock, every part of the hall was crowded. There never has been a sporting event hitherto in Grenfell that has created such excitement.
The prizes were handed over to the winners by Mr Lewis at the Prince Wales Hotel last night, viz., W.J.Logan, 1st prize, £10; John Hoard, 2nd, £5, Morgan Wiliams, 3rd, £2.10s; and W.J. Logan £2.2s – this litter being a special prize given by Dr. Stride, for the person who walked the longest distance without leaving the track, which was won by Logan, who did the fifty miles.
I hear Mr. Lewis is thinking of visiting Young with the intention of getting up a similar tournament.