INDIANAPOLIS - Ultrarunning legend, 1952 Olympian, New York Road Runners Founding President and pioneer in the field of course measurement and certification Ted Corbitt died Wednesday of cancer in Houston, Texas. He was 88.
Corbitt began his running career as a sprinter in Cincinnati and didn't run his first marathon until he was 32 years old, placing 15th at the 1951 Boston Marathon.At age 54 he ran his 175th marathon, in Boston, in 2 hours 49 minutes 16 seconds, less than one minute slower than his first marathon 23 years earlier. His fastest marathon time was 2:26:44 in 1958. He ran a total of 199 marathons and ultra races during his career and formerly held American Records at 50 miles, 100 miles and 24 hours.
Shortly after the founding of the Road Runners Club of America in February 1958, Corbitt founded the first RRCA chapter in April of that year, the New York Road Runners Club (now the New York Road Runners). Corbitt was elected as the second president of the RRCA at the organization's 1960 Annual Meeting.
Corbitt, who graduated with honors from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in physical education and later became a physical therapist, led the movement for accurate road running course measurement criteria and course certification. His 1964 book, "Measuring Road Running Courses," became the benchmark for certified road race courses at the time and remains the foundation for accurate road race measurement today.
The Ted Corbitt Award is presented annually by USA Track & Field to the leading male ultrarunner of the year.