The First International Transcontinental Foot Race was held in the United States in 1928. The event was organized through the combined efforts of the Route 66 Association and sports promoter, Charles C. Pyle. The purpose was to build interest in the newly opened Route 66—a road that was being described as the “highway that connected the nation.”
For the first time, a series of roads had been created to link the United States from coast to coast. Route 66 itself only ran from the Pacific Ocean to Chicago but once in Illinois, there were several roads that could take travelers east.
Though Route 66 had been proclaimed “open,” it was still rough going for cars. Only one-third of it was paved, and the unpaved sections were barely more than leveled roadway often filled with numerous potholes. There was little signage and no maps at that time, so drivers were understandably nervous about undertaking a cross-country road trip.