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Frank Hart – The First Black Ultrarunning Star
By Davy Crockett

Running history about African Americans has for too long been overlooked and under-research. Davy Crockett is changing this paradigm with this fine biography on Frank Hart. You’ll learn both about the first great Black ultrarunning star plus the fascinating era called Pedestrianism. In the 1880s these six day go as you please (run/walk) races were the biggest spectator sport in the United States. Frank Hart was its biggest star. Hart set the 6-day world record in Madison Square Garden April 1880 covering 565 miles.

This fine biography is well researched and shows the many ups and downs of Frank Hart’s life. These runners were professionals. Hart’s estimated earnings of $100,000 over his 23-year career (1879-1902) translate into $3.2 million in today’s value. He raced in 115 ultramarathons and 64 six day races. The book also highlights the successes of other African Americans during this era and the adversity they faced overcoming racial barriers.

Davy Crockett is a veteran ultrarunner and historian. Checkout his fine work and well produced podcasts at and Ultrarunning History Podcasts. His latest book “Strange Running Tales: When Ultrarunning was a Reality Show” will give you additional insights into the Pedestrian era.

Gary Corbitt
Curator: Ted Corbitt Archives
Historian: National Black Marathoners Association (NBMA)
July 3, 2023