We do not hesitate (says the Saturday Review) to pronounce the exhibition of what is termed professional pedestrianism more, and not less, degrading than prize-fighting, which had at least a very definite reference to the practical affairs of life, and the disuse of which, though it has no doubt stopped a great source of blackguardism and rascality, has perhaps exercised in some respects an unfavorable influence on the behavior and disposition of Englishmen. It was useful to know how to use your fists upon occasion, and the use of them was not the worst way of settling quarrels. It is not useful, and cannot be useful under any conceivable circumstances, to be able to trot or stumble so many hundred miles in a given time on a prepared path, with elaborately given stimulants, restoratives and appliances of all kinds ready to hand. All this is as obvious and as trite as the performances themselves are discreditable, but while the facts are repeated it is necessary to repeat the comment.
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Ashburton Guardian, Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 276, 23 February 1881
Degrading Diversion. Ashburton Guardian, Volume 2, Issue 276, 23 February 1881
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