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Pedestrianism; or an account of the celebrated performances of celebrated pedestrians during the last and present century; with a full narrative of Captain Barclay's public and private marches; and an essay on training
Aberdeen: D. Chalmers and co., 1813., 1813. Inscribed First Edition. Octavo, pp.viii, 286. Bound in full tan calf, gilt and blind ruling to boards, with raised bands and black title label to rebacked spine; all edges marbled, marbled endpapers, gilt dentelles, gilt to board edges. With newspaper obituary insert. Binding shows well, worn to extremities, Internally clean with some minor foxing, light offset to title from frontispiece. Author's inscription, "To Alex Mitchell Esq, with the author's compliments" appears to first blank leaf of textblock. Walter Thom, who also wrote a history of Aberdeen and made contributions to various works of topography, was the father of Alexander Thom, founder of Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory. Lovesey, Macnab and Huxtable suggest in "An Athletics Compendium" that this is probably the first book on competitive athletics - indeed, they argue that "Barclay's training methods were to influence athletics training for over a century". The book includes accounts of Barclay's various walking matches and wagers concerning walking matches. Apparently the sport was vigourously contested, as the book includes a ranking of walking races in the 18th and 19th centuries. One notable wager concerned walking a thousand miles in a thousand hours for a thousand guineas. Barclay's advice on training, diet, and dress all exercise a certain fascination, beyond mere curiosity at what came before treadmills, goji berries and lycra. Peter Lovesey, Tom MacNab, Andrew Huxtable, "An Athletics Compendium: A Guide to the Literature of Track and Field".
      [Bookseller: Adrian Harrington Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2015-05-21           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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