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Captain Barclay Extraordinary Exerciser of the Nineteenth Century – Iron Game History – March 1991

The Oxford English Dictionary defines pedestrianism as “going or walking on foot.” A pedestrian is “one who walks as physical exercise or athletic performance.” As applied to plain prose, “pedestrian” also means commonplace, dull, uninspired. None of these terms could be applied to Walter Thom’s prose in his monumental study entitled Pedestrianism, which was published in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1813. Thom, while giving a more than useful review of the sport of pedestrianism or race walking as it had evolved in Great Britain in the eighteenth century, spotlights the athlete that he feels was the greatest pedestrian of all time– the Scotsman, Captain Barclay.