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The Modern Method of Training for Running, Walking, Rowing & Boxing

Charles Westhall, The Modern Method of Training for Running, Walking, Rowing & Boxing, Including Hints on Exercise, Diet, Clothing, and Advice to Trainers. 1863.

 

The author:

Charles Westhall may be the most versatile athlete of all time.  In 1847 he was one of the best sprinters in the world, but in 1852 he also won the ‘Champion of England’ belt for running one mile.  He was also recognised as Britain’s champion walker over distances from 6 to 10 miles in the late 1840s and early 1850s, in 1857 he walked 21 miles inside 3 hours on the Newmarket to Cambridge road.  He retired in 1858 and began coaching and writing.  In 1864 the Civil Service A.C. presented him with a silver goblet as a token of their regard, and he was given a dinner at the Clarence Hotel in London at which he was presented with a testimonial honouring his services to amateur athletics (which included being advisor for the West London Rowing Club Sports, and the first Grand Meeting at Cambridge University).  Charles Westhall was also known as Charles Hall and as an athlete sometimes went by the name ‘the London Clipper’.

 

The place of Westhall’s “The Modern Method of Training for Running, Walking, Rowing & Boxing” in the history of Athletics literature:

Westhall’s stature as an athlete makes this a valuable text, particularly as he uses his own performances and experiences as illustrations.  Westhall writes that ‘during the last few years the system of training men ... has undergone a complete change’, and this text is an excellent example of the new ideas and methods. 

 

The text:

Westhall opens with a chapter of Advice to Trainers, and then follows with a comparison of the old and new systems of training.  He also has chapters on training for rowing and boxing, and aspects of sports medicine - treatment of the feet and sinews, thirst and medicine – perhaps reflecting his early experiences as a medical student.  He is typical of the enthusiastic age in which Amateur Athletics first emerged, and wanted believed that this new sport was a force for personal and social good.  He expressed the wish that there would be ‘colleges for Gymnastics and Athletic Sports throughout the United Kingdom’, so that the youth of the country could derive the benefits previously only available to a few.

 

Peter Radford


Bibliographic details:

Title: The Modern Method of Training for Running, Walking, Rowing & Boxing, Including Hints on Exercise, Diet, Clothing, and Advice to Trainers.
Extract Details:
Publisher: S.O. Beeton
Place of Publication: London
Date of Publication: 1863
Date(s) of Re-Publication:
BL Catalogue: General Reference Collection MIC.A.7490.
"An Athletics Compendium" Reference: E14, p.96

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