Seattle remembers the Bunion Derby of 1928
A foot race from Los Angeles to New York City provided opportunity for many impoverished individuals.
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer recently featured an article looking back on a man named Eddie Gardner, who was regarded as the Northwest region's best long distance runner and one of the most popular contestants in the 1928 Bunion Derby run from Los Angeles to New York City.
Gardner was one of few African Americans in the race, and entered with just $175 in his pocket in hopes of winning the $25,000 grand prize.
“He had to survive a firestorm of hate, risking his life to stay in the race,” said Charles Kastner, author of Bunion Derby: The 1928 Footrace Across America, quoted by the news source.
While Gardner broke records during the race, he came in eighth place due to hoards of fans following him, which ultimately slowed him down. He came out of the race $2,500 richer.
According to RunningTimes.com, runners of the Bunion Derby were provided with a mobile shoe repair shop, a useful feature, considering that worn out shoes would have likely caused bunions or hammer toe in the athletes.Today's marathon runners have the luxury of bunion splints or orthotics, which can help to prevent or correct the foot conditions without the need for bunion surgery.