THIS DAY IN NY SPORTS HISTORY
Saturday, March 7, 1885
Skate-a-thon at the Garden proves fatal
The first six-day roller skating race at Madison Square Garden was won by Willie Donovan of Elmira, N.Y. He logged a whopping 1,092 miles in the 142 hours to earn a $500 prize. The 19-year-old, however, died just a month later of acute pericarditis - an inflammation of the lining around the heart. Joseph Cohen of Brooklyn, who earned $50 for completing the race, died 11 days after the race, of cerebral meningitis, which coroners believed was caused by overexertion from the marathon.