I noticed that Ted's passing was mentioned in USA Today on Thursday, along with a couple of pictures and a brief bio. It's nice to see that his legacy is getting some well-deserved notice.
never met the dude, but would have liked to.
I want to pass along a couple of fond rememberances to add to the many I've enjoyed:
I think it might have been in one of the old Runners' Worlds, but it was mentioned how Corbett got in a lot of his mileage running back and forth to work, even running to catch the bus when he wasn't running long. Someone was overheard saying in those days where an adult running was rare sight..."Man, that cat's late for work every day!"
I've already shared how I had the honor of meeting Mr Corbett at the 1992 Trials. We talked a bit about his running days and he confided that he no longer ran, he just "did a little bit of walking". How typical of a man known for understatement to say that he just does "a little bit of walking" when you read about some of his exploits when he was in his early 80s.
What a wonderful example of what this sport is all about. He will be greatly missed, but his spirit lives on.
I am lucky to have met Ted once, I cannot remember where, but maybe when we hosted the RRCA convention here in KC. He was such a quiet, unassuming gentleman that I had a hard time talking with him. I was too shy about asking him about his running, thinking he'd be bored with the question. My loss. I also remember thinking that no one had ever contributed more back to running than Ted did. I still think that now, especially when so many that are in running (especially in organizing capacities) are in it for the money, one way or another. Ted saw the purity of sport, and of volunteerism, even to the degree of giving a massage when necessary, as mentioned above. What a great man. Thank goodness he was alive when inducted into the Hall of Fame. I can only hope that Track and Field News brings his book out again, and that NYRRC and RRCA honors continue to acknowledge him. Ted, we're all the richer for all you did and gave to us.
According to his biography, back in the 50s (or early 60s), Ted would run in street clothes and shoes - not much of a fitness apparel industry back then. The police, seeing a black man running, would stop him. Obviously, this never stopped Ted. He was out on the roads when almost no one was on the roads, and he did it despite the conspicuous racial barriers of the era.
Pretty stunning stuff.
...RIP Mr. Corbitt. A true giant of the sport of long distance running.
Nice to read your comments Coach Woodall!
Sad indeed but what a life he had that we all celebrate and honor. The man not only made significant contributions to our sport but he influenced the personal lives of so many.
I'm one of those fortunate guys who had the privilege to run his first marathon, the Bronx Cherry Tree '67, behind the likes of Ted Corbitt. An experience of a lifetime for an 18 year old who had no clue what he was getting into. My coach at the time, the infamous Joe Kleinerman of Millrose AA, said . . . "Just follow Corbitt and you'll do fine". So stalking him like his own shadow I trailed Ted for nearly every step. The steady as they come, huffing and puffing Corbitt, paced me with his rhythmic breathing (sounded like a steam engine to me), to a 2:57 - the thrill of a lifetime then . . and even today as I reminisce. My younger legs at the time had me out run him the last mile . . . but what did I know .. . he had probably run 26 miles earlier in the day. He was ONLY 47 years old at the time.
My log tells me my next experience with Ted was driving to Washington DC/Maryland in a car with him, Joe Kleinerman, Jim McDonagah, and Bill Shanahan for the National 30 K championships- also '67. Indeed he inspired me on that trip . . so much so that I ran very well the next day . . for me anyway. . . which allowed me to help my team win the championship. Thank you Mr. Corbitt . . . just in case you can hear or read these ramblings.
Ted Corbitt was a quiet and unassuming gentleman and probably influenced me and others more than he ever knew. He ran because he loved it . . He shared that love by his actions and positive spirit with all of us who knew him or heard of him. He taught many of us how to truly just love running for running's sake. He will be missed . . but his legacy will live on forever.
There was a nice little article in the L.A. Times today in the obituary section.
I was looking for information re: Jim McDonagh for another thread, and found that there was a pretty extensive writeup about Mr. Corbitt in the January '66 Distance Running News. It includes a writeup by Bob Anderson re:" Ted Corbitt - Training and General Information"; an article about his London-to-Brighton run in '65 (2nd); and his complete marathon record from 1951 thru 1965, which includes all races at marathon distance and greater. I'll post some of this here, and if anyone has an interest in a copy of these pages, please let me know your email address.
Some workouts during the week of July 31, 1961
Tuesday - 17 miles 2:11:05 in street clothes (Left achilles tendon hampered speed). Later after work ran 7 miles in 63 minutes.
Wednesday - 5 miles to park - sprints - home. Later one mile to subway on way to work
Saturday - 30 miles 4:10:05 (left achilles tendon and friction burns on both thighs hampered effort). Later one mile through streets. Lter 1 1/8th mile thru streets
Sunday - 21 3/4 miles 3:19:00 (started out on 32 mile run but cut workout short and took subway home. Was running too slowly to benefit and bothered by friction burns on thighs). Later 3/4 mile run through streets in neighborhood.
Week of March 9, 1964
Tuesday - 15 miles 1:48:20 (home to work) Raining. (suffering from leg problems). After work 15 miles 1:58:15 (work to home).
Thursday - 18 miles 2:24:58 home to work. Road wet, light snow falling. After work - 13 miles 1:51:18 work to home. Road wet, snowing. (not much desire to run. Bad cold)
Sunday - Morning 30 miles 4:31:55
I'll post some of this here, and if anyone has an interest in a copy of these pages, please let me know your email address.
stillrunning, please send me Ted's marathon (& ultra) resume! Little is known how runners of his era trained so any news is gold. Ted ran his share of long miles at a time and in a manner few duplicated in his day. Thanks in advance.