Some time in the past three or four years I read that President Kennedy more or less pulled that comment, to the effect that any fit, red-blooded American lad should be able to hike 50 miles in a day, out of his, let's just say, 'hat'. After all, that's roughly a double-marathon, and it's well beyond any ordinary fitness level in the industrialized countries.
Loc: Portland, OR
I also was old enough to be aware of this when it happened. Of the folks who actually did it, I wonder how many were able to move the next day, beyond the absolute minimum. It's not the kind of challenge one can do without preliminary conditioning and not pay a high price physically.
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Do the Boy Scouts still have a 50-mile hike badge? They used to.
I never participated in the madness, but those 50-milers were quite popular in the 1960s and 1970s. I remember 50-milers as fund raisers for the March of Dimes. Lots of footsore teenagers hobbling around afterwards!
As a new mom with several babies/toddlers in that era, I couldn't have participated if I had wanted to!
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey
Last week I did a "spring conditioning" 17.5 mile day-hike with 2,000 feet gain in 5 hours and 40 minutes. Went home and walked the dog another 2 miles. Had I been able to keep up that pace for a total of 15 hours (not likely at my age!), I could have met the challenge. 50 miles at 3 mph (a reasonable day-hike pace) is about 17 hours. That is not too outrageous for a fit 20-something if there were minimal elevation gains. However, a bit difficult to impossible for those of us 70 years or older.