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Ted Corbitt

January 31, 1919 – December 12, 2007

Ted Corbitt was the first African-American marathoner named to the U.S. Olympic Team and is affectionately regarded as the “Father of Distance Running” in the U.S. He was an athlete in his own right, but his greatest contribution to the sport was as founder of USA Track & Field's Road Running Technical Council. Corbitt created a national program for accurate road measurement and certification, as he oversaw a list of nationally certified courses and handpicked road course certifiers. He wrote the 1964 booklet “Measuring Road Running Courses,” which opened the door to a strategic program for measuring, verifying and certifying American race course distances. Born in 1919 in Dunbarton, South Carolina, Corbitt competed as a distance athlete at the University of Cincinnati. He overcame racial prejudice and was sometimes unable to compete in areas deemed too dangerous, but his challenges only deepened his desire to succeed. Corbitt served in the U.S. Armed Forces in World War II in Okinawa before taking on Pacific Theater duties after the war. In 1950, he earned a masters degree in physical therapy and remained committed to his love for distance running. Corbitt was elected president of the New York Road Runners Club in the late 1950s and was president of the Road Runners Club of America in 1960 and 1961. A man of many passions, Corbitt was a clinician, teacher, physical therapist, editor and avid runner up until 2007, when he passed away at the age of 88.

1952: 44th in marathon in XIV Olympic Games

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