eIt was noon on March 12, 1879, a Wednesday, and Dan O’Leary, 38, thin, tall and with a larger mustache, had a problem not to be underestimated: he was miserable. And everyone can see it. O’Leary staggered into Madison Square Garden as if he had eaten three bottles of lunch on an empty stomach, sweat running down his forehead, gathering in a shawl tied around his neck. His mouth drooped open, his eyes widened, and an onlooker later commented that Dan’O Leary looked like a corpse, a corpse that could still move after all.
The Astley Belt Race, which lasted six days to discover the best walkers of the time, began three days ago. Tens of thousands of New Yorkers gathered at Madison Square Garden to watch the biggest sporting event of the year, now somewhere between Wimbledon and the Champions League final. The most talented walkers from all over the world came to New York, and Americans were hoping for one thing in particular: Dan O’Leary, an Irish immigrant from New York who has caused a stir in recent years under the name Plucky Pedestrian.
“Creator. Troublemaker. Reader. Tv nerd. Proud beer advocate. Unable to type with boxing gloves on. Introvert. Certified zombie practitioner. Thinker.”