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How long is a furlong? The question was first answered 10 years ago

For What It's Worth
RIck Peterson, general manager

I don’t know if you believe in coincidences, but here is proof they do happen from time to time.

Last week Mary and I happened to be at the horse races in Des Moines, Iowa. So the Monday morning office conversation centered around horse racing.

During the conversation I asked if anyone knew the distance of a furlong. Not sure why, but at the time nobody googled it, so the furlong question went unanswered.

Now fast-forward to earlier this week. I was starting to write this column but just stared at my computer wondering what to write about. Then I wondered what I wrote about at this time ten years ago. I pulled up my column for the first week of September 2013.

The column back then was about the Sanford Wellness Step by Step Challenge. The goal was to walk yourself to a healthier you.

In the column I wrote about how many steps I had taken so far in the challenge and how many steps were in a mile, and so on.

I copied and pasted the following from the third paragraph of that 2013 column here:

By the way, do you know why there are 5,280 feet in a mile? The mile is an ancient length unit, commonly used by the Romans (equal to 5,000 Roman feet). So when the British started using it as a length unit, it was necessary to relate it to a furlong, which was a very common length unit used in agriculture. One furlong is 660 feet. It was decided that one mile should be 8 furlongs long, thus 660 feet times 8 furlongs equals 5,280 feet.

Now in my mind, that is fate.

And by the way, long before Google and still today.

For the past 150 years when you need to find out something about Rock County, the Rock County Star Herald is the place to go.