Deerfoot is the legendary Blackfoot runner who raced in the1800s, and was said to have outrun horses and riders, and left other runners choking on prairie dust. His real name, Scabby Dried Meat, or Api-kai-ees, was changed to Deerfoot by white sports promoters to convey the image of an Indian running fleetfooted across the plains.
Deerfoot started running as a messenger during the 1800s for the Blackfoot Confederacy, racing between camps in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Montana. His prowess as a runner came to the attention of foot-race promoters in Calgary. Deerfoot eventually raced amateur and professional runners in anything from 400 meters to 16-hour races.
Challengers from around the world came to Calgary to test their abilities against him. In 1886, a champion distance runner from England, a runner from Ottawa, and Deerfoot competed in a 16 km race. The race was billed as the major sporting event of the year and was covered by media from as far away as New York.
With the corruption in sports promotion involving the gambling syndicate, and feeling betrayed, Deerfoot left his promotion team in 1886 to run as an independent. Deerfoot died in 1897 after contracting tuberculosis.