Tuesday, February 7, 2017

V. 7 N. 8 An Oral History of American Long Distance Running

For several years I've been privileged to read Gary Corbitt's website and blog on historical events in American long distance running with particular emphasis on African American runners.  As most of you are aware, Gary's father  Ted Corbitt is lovingly referred to as the father of American Long Distance Running by his peers.  For most of his life Ted was a competitor attending and running for the University of Cincinnati  and represented the US at the 1952 Olympics.  After that he spent the rest of his life working in New York City as a physiotherapist and ran to work each day nearly 20 miles round trip.  His service to running involved developing accurate measuring of road courses, organizing, and many other activities too numerous to mention but all important in the promotion of the sport.  Not only these things but even more important, Ted was a person willing to listen and respond to folks seeking advice on training, on treating their injuries, and creating a correspondence over the years that has provided Gary a life's task of sifting through all that data and putting it together for posterity.

In his youth, Gary often witnessed his father competing in races and grew to have an intimate knowledge of the sport and the runners as few have had.  In the past year Gary has organized several conference calls between some of those folks who ran the big races in the 1950s and 60s and a conference call between some of the early female competitors in the sport.   He now has those  calls available to listen to on his website.  If you are a real student of the history of running in mid 20th century America, it will be worth your effort to visit his site, pull up a comfortable chair, a warm drink or a cold beer and listen to some of these conversations.   They are listed by subject   The Yonkers Marathon 1964 and Mt. Holyoke 1967 are the two races discussed by the men, and the women discuss their struggles to gain a place on the distance running stage.   He also has an index to show who is talking in each time period of the recording so that you can advance to a particular speaker if you so choose.

Here is Gary's brief description of the site and the link to listen to those calls.

Running History Conference Calls

I coordinated these three running history conference calls in 2016. The timing for each of the panelist is listed so you can listen in segments. The calls last around 90 minutes. These were the two most historic marathons in U.S. running history that I witnessed. I hope you take a listen and hear from some of the participants.
The Women Ultramarathon call is part of series and was dedicated to Ruth Anderson, and featured the late Eileen Waters Connolly.

*1964 Yonkers Marathon
*1967 Holyoke Marathon
*Women Running Pioneers of Ultramarathons – Part 2

Best Wishes!
Gary Corbitt
Curator: Ted Corbitt Archives

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