Long Shanks and Electric Spark

Isle of Wight Observer March 27 1869

A running match

On Thursday morning, at 7 o’clock, a considerable number of persons assembled to witness a race down the pier, and up the tramway to the pier gate. The runners were known as “Long Shanks”, one of the toll collectors at the pier, and “Electric Spark”, the messenger at the telegraph office. Stakes 10s. Both parties had been in training for some time. The betting was two to one in favour of Long Shanks, as it was considered if he could only take two strides to Electric Spark’s three, he must win. A capital start was made. It was soon seen, however, that young lightning was too brisk for his opponent, having out-distanced him in the first 200 yards, so that Long Shanks, seeing the hopelessness of arriving at the winning post, cooly dropped out of the race, and dropped his half-sovereign at the same time. Young lightning kept running on as fast as though his opponent had been within two or three yards, instead of at the other end of the pier. HE accomplished the whole distance in 5 1/2 minutes. Long Shanks reached the pier gates about ten minutes afterwards, and as a soother to his backers, treated them to rolls and coffee, at Boyce’s. He declared to his supporters that he would win for them yet. We, however, take the liberty to doubt the truth of his assertion. Long Shanks is, in fact, no match for his light-weighted opponent. We may, however, suggest that when “Freddy Spencer” returns from college, a more equal match could be made, provided Freddy could find backers.

From our Sporting Correspondent