November 8, 2019
Contact: Jeff Darman
MarathonFoto/Road Race Management Lifetime
Achievement Award Honors Ted Corbitt
Ted Corbitt will be honored with the annual MarathonFoto/Road Race Management Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Road Race Management Race Directors' Meeting November 8 in St. Petersburg, FL. The award is made for contributions to the sport of long-distance road running over the course of a lifetime. Scores of nominations were received that read like a Who's Who of running. The 11-member committee had the difficult task of reviewing the nominees.
Corbitt was described as
"the father of American distance running," by the legendary Fred Lebow,
founder of the New York City Marathon. Accepting the posthumous award will be Ted Corbitt’s son Gary Corbitt.
Ted Corbitt helped found the Road Runners Club of America and was later its president. He established guidelines to measure courses accurately for the thousands of nationally certified races. He was co-founder and the first president of the New York Road Runners Club.
Early on after moving to Cincinnati, he ran competitively in high school and at the University of Cincinnati in half-mile, one-mile and two-mile events. As a young African-American athlete, he also encountered racial barriers.
"The color line was drawn even in some of the meets in Cincinnati, so I could not participate in them," he said in a 1988 interview.
"In the Midwest, places like Illinois and Indiana, there were track
meets, but I was a little reluctant to take part in them because I did
not know what type of reception I would get and what problems I would
have getting a place to stay and getting something to eat."
After graduating from Cincinnati with a bachelor's degree in education and serving in the Army in World War II, Corbitt moved to New York, where, as a night student, he earned a master's in physical therapy at New York University. He ran his first marathon in Boston in 1951.
Highlights of his long and distinguished running career include being called the Father of Ultramarathon Running. He was an Olympian in the Marathon and National Champion in 1954, 1956, 1957 and 1968 and the first African-American to represent the U.S. at the Olympic Games in the Marathon (1952), the First African-American to win the US National title at the Marathon (1954) and he authored Measuring Road Running Courses, in 1964. This helped legitimize the sport by developing a system across the U.S. ensuring road race courses were accurately measured, enabling the verification of records set in races.
From 1969 - 1981 he finished more marathons than anyone in the history of the sport. Ted Corbitt was also a physical therapy pioneer, master clinician, teacher and healer. Corbitt was the chief physical therapist at the International Center for the Disabled in Manhattan. Until 1973, he ran to work every day, sometimes making a 20 to 30-mile detour through Westchester. He also taught physical therapy at Columbia and N.Y.U., wrote widely on athletics and physical therapy and officiated at races.
Road Race Management (www.rrm.com) is a member-based organization that publishes a newsletter and many other publications designed for race and industry professionals, and conducts a prestigious annual national race directors' meeting and trade show in Florida. MarathonFoto (www.marathonfoto.com) is the leader in race and endurance sports photography.