Most people think of stilts as something for circuses and kiddie parties, but they’ve been used in a number of strange ways since ancient times.
In the 19th century, Landes, France was a brushy wasteland that turned swampy wheneverit rained. Locals dealt with this harsh environment by walking onstilts—everyone, from housewives to the mailman, had a pair.
In 1891, a Landes shepherd named Sylvain Dornon stilt walked from Paris to Mosco win 58 days. It was the first of many stilt marathons..
The record for the longest stilt walk goes to Joe Bowen, who walked 3008 miles fromLA to Kentucky in 1980.
For 600 years, Namur, Belgium has held a stilt jousting tournament called the Golden Stilt. Teams of jousters in red-and-white costumes try to take eachother down by shoving, shoulder butting, poking, kicking, and knocking out their opponent’s stilts. The person still standing at the end wins.