This week, the tale of Deerfoot — native American, athlete and holder of the 10 mile world record, set at a Hackney Racecourse.
“Lewis Bennet was born on a reservation in Buffalo, USA under the name Hutgosedoneh which literally means ‘he who peeks through doors’. Now it’s unclear as to whether or not he was a sex pest, but we do know that he was a full-blooded Seneca who could run really fast.”
Watch the video and enjoy the London song inspired by this tale, ‘The Distance Between Us’.
Deerfoot – The Runner
Londoners have a long held a fascination for the extremes, the boundaries and limits of the human bodies abilities. Whether it’s a freakshow, strongman contests or the ever increasing dimensions of the chest of Katie Price chest, the Londoners eye is captured.
Over the years we’ve seen bare knuckle boxing, tugs of war, and the rise of a sport we are all familiar with; pedestrianism.
In 1857 man named James Baum owned a pub in on Wick street in Hackney, and behind he built a running track which went on to become one of the most important in the land.
Now in those days races were less about sports appreciation and more of an opportunity to have a bet. Someone might claim to be able to run 10 miles in two seconds with their pants on their head and another individual would challenge him to it. But as the years went on competition got stiffer. And the bar was raised considerably with the arrival of a man from way out of town.
Lewis Bennett was born hundreds of miles away on a reservation in Buffalo USA under the name Hut-goh-so-do-neh. A name that literally means ‘he who peeks through doors’. Now it’s unclear whether or not he was a sex pest but what we do know is that he was a full-blooded Seneca Indian, and he could run really fast. He competed all across the USA before arriving in Hackney at James Baum’s race course for his debut UK event, completing in a 6 mile race.
Now he wouldn’t do this in in the conventional way instead he competed in full Native American dress whooping and screaming in the Native American way, both fascinating and terrifying onlookers. He drew thousand people and his name ‘Deerfoot’ spread throughout the country.
King Edward the seventh came to watch as well as tens of thousands of people, including gentlemen and ladies for the very first time. But it wasn’t all plain sailing. As well as hero worship he attracted racial abuse and violence, sometimes getting involved in fights whilst competing.
Deerfoot set a world record at 10 miles at the very same Hackney racecourse his UK debut took him to, before dying of alcoholism in 1897.