Among the runners of C. C. Pyle's First Annual International
Transcontinental Foot Race were an assortment of underdogs, including
twenty-year-old Oklahoman and part Cherokee Andy Payne, who wanted to
win over the girl of his dreams and pay off the mortgage on his family's
farm; Paul "Hardrock" Simpson, who was in over his head but couldn't
let down his North Carolina hometown; Mike Kelly, a luckless boxer from
Indiana; Seattle's Ed Gardner, one of four black runners who encountered
bigotry; Charles Hart, a sixty-three-year-old Englishman hoping his
best days weren't behind him; and Frank Johnson, a middle-aged husband,
father, and steelworker from St. Louis who broke away from his humdrum
life and dared to do something different.
Newspaper and magazine journalist Geoff Williams details this historic
event and the colorful cast of characters involved, based on firsthand
accounts of those who were there and interviews from many living
descendants. C. C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race is a classic American story so astonishing and surreal that you have to hear it to believe it.