Sunburns, Broken Arches, and Insanity on the Mother Road

C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race book coverC.C. Pyle called himself a promoter. Others called him a con man. In 1928, when endurance tests – like flagpole sitting and all-day dances – were the rage, C.C. Pyle held a cross country race. One hundred ninety-nine people paid Pyle an entry fee to run from Los Angeles to New York City for the chance to win $25,000. It was a 3,423 mile race. Contestants ran 30 – 50 miles a day in an era before supportive or flexible shoes. They suffered from malnutrition, sunburns, nervous breakdowns, hit and runs, fallen arches, ripped muscles, and even a blizzard in Amarillo. C.C. Pyle’s Amazing Foot Race, by Geoff Williams, chronicles the drastically underfinanced race and Pyle’s attempts to stay a step ahead of his debt collectors.