Being injured and currently only jogging 15 minutes every other day has allowed me more time to, amongst other things, read more. I have always had an interest in past feats achieved in running and characters such as Captain Robert Barclay Allardice who in 1809 achieved 1000 miles in 1000 hours.
So it was with great interest that I read an article in our local evening paper of a 2 hour feature film to be released late next year of the life of James Rowan.
James Rowan (known as The Black Callant) was in the mid 1800's World Champion for 10 miles at the age of 19. Rowan was born into poverty in Gateshead, but became famous during this age of pedestrianism. He made his fortune in America running against runners such as 'Great American Deer' Dearfoot Jackson.
A showman, Rowan would pull stunts such as drinking a bottle of whiskey during his race (and still win).
He was however abandoned, penniless, in America after refusing to throw a race. He eventually worked his passage back to Britain and returned to Gateshead, where he died once again in poverty, at the age of 27.
The film also investigates his involvement, while in America, of undercover arms dealing between a Tyneside firm and the American Confederates.
Written by Arthur McKenzie, this is a film I will be looking out for.
I also did not realise that The Morpeth to Newcastle road race, which used to, until recently, be held every New Years Day, since the turn of the century was established in James Rowan's memory.