April 28th, 1958: Ron Laird, of the New York Pioneer Club, wins the National Championship 20k Walk in Baltimore by walking 13 laps around the perimeter of Patterson Park in tight boy-shorts. Since it was still the wholesome 1950s he didn’t have to avoid weird hipster parades, performance art, male hustlers, dog crap, and Marty Bass trying to “get inside” of prostitutes’ heads.
1958 Newsreel footage of Laird walking the walk.
- Creepers, Floaters And Squirmers: Everyone laughs when a walking race starts, but to the contestants it’s a serious business in which the threat of disqualification looms larger than it does in any other sport (Sports Illustrated, 4/27/1970)
“Of course, too, perhaps no other race walker has quite Laird’s dedication. At one period in his life he would work at a job until his attendance at a walking race required him to miss work, at which time he would get fired. Returning from the race, he would get another job, which would last until the next race.”