one of the central tactical questions the competitors had to face was when, and for how long, to pause for sleep. Walkers would push themselves to cover 400 miles in five days, or 500 miles in six days, often suffering bloody feet — think about doing 3,000 laps in mid-Victorian footwear — swollen joints, and nastier injuries. There were deaths on the track.
The crowds were kicked out at night, but the races kept going, hours and hours of exhausted men passing in silence around enormous, empty halls, judges noting their progress as they went.
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