Country roads were rough, tough, and uneven. But the agile, handsome, and (sometimes) opulently dressed running footmen traversed these treacherous roads to scout, deliver messages, and honor their masters with their ultramarathon endurance. Holding a staff, an egg, and maybe a little white wine, was the running footman the first professional runner of the modern age?
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Radford, P.F. and A.J. Ward-Smith. "British Running Performances in the Eighteenth Century." Journal of Sports Sciences 21 (2003): 429-438.