Monday, October 22, 2012

Get Your Butt Kicked on Route 66: The Bunion Derby and Today

From the April 8, 2012, Arizona Daily Sun by Neil Weintraub.

In 1928, Charles C. Pyle organized a 3,400 mile footrace from Los Angeles to New York Vity in 84 days with a top prize of $35,000.  The first 2,000 miles were on the new Route 66.

There was only one Arizona runner, Nicholas Quamawahu, a Hopi Indian from Orabi who dropped out in Arizona.  Pyle's "Footrace Across America" became better known as "The Bunion Derby."  It began March 4, 1928 with 199 runners.  Only 55 finished and it was won by 20-year-old Andy Payne of Oklahoma, with an average of 10 miles per hour.

The Northern Arizona Trail Runners Association (NATRA) recently ran one of the most challenging stretches of the Bunion Derby which occurred on the 13th day, the steep Ash Fork Hill where Quamawahu dropped off.  This is the 43-mile trek from Seligman to Williams, a 1700 ft incline.

The nine NATRA runners started near the Welch exit and retraced a few miles of the exact path, then took a graded dirt road, part of the Old Trails Highway.  After three miles, most of the present-day runners were walking after having their butts kicked.

Getting Your Butt Kicked You Know Where.  --RoadDog

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