Professional ultrarunners/pedestrians of the late 1800s and early 1900s were constantly looking for endurance races or head-to-head matches to prove their abilities and make significant amounts of money. During the mid 1880s, some of them, including popular black ultrarunner Frank Hart, changed out their leather running shoes for roller skates during periods of endurance rolling skate fads.


While not technically ultrarunning, the emerging six-day roller skate races mirrored significantly the six-day foot races that had become the most popular spectator sport for several years in the United States. Why not put wheels on those ultrarunning feet and see what could be done?  The results were fascinating, and in 1885 the Boston Globe left behind very detailed play-by-play results that revealed what these unique races were like. How many miles could an extreme endurance athlete skate in six days on primitive rolling skates?

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