About the author:

Rupantar has been the race director of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team since 1985, having been asked by Sri Chinmoy to serve in that capacity. As well as working on the big races the US Marathon Team organise each year - the 3100 Mile Race and the Six and 10 Day Race - he also spends a considerable amount of time archiving the Marathon Team's 40 year history on this website.


Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team Press Release. 1983. Retrieved 2013-1-15. Archive copy at the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team office, New York.

"It was a great spring for the Marathon Team, with ground broken in numerous areas - team trophies a 100-miler for the boys, a cross-Canada run for one of our girls, an assist to the NRRC, and even a venture into the movie world.

This was all topped off on June 21st, when runners from the ultra-distance community and members of the NYRRC and the Marathon Team met over dinner to honor Ted Corbitt, the ‘father of American distance running,’ as he received the fourth annual Sri Chinmoy Sports and Service Award, offered to him for his outstanding athletic achievements and his contributions to the world of distance running. Honors  were also in order for the NYRRC: Sri Chinmoy presented a fruit-filled trophy (yes, Fred, the grapes were real) to a surprised and gracious Fred Lebow in appreciation of the NYRRC’s 25 years of dedicated service to the running community. This congenial assembly was also treated to the New York premiere of the Inner Runner, a 16mm film on self transcendence (starring many audience members) shot on location at the October 1982 Sri Chinmoy 24-our Run in Flushing…"

"Sri Chinmoy Sports & Service Award." img017.jpg(Brochure). 1983. Retrieved 2013-1-15. Archive copy at the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team office, New York.

"They call him a living legend, the man who envisioned new horizons and crossed them. Ted Corbitt turned long-distance running into an American sport. Not only a remarkable athlete and ultra-marathoning pioneer; he is a pioneer of the spirit who, by his example, taught a generation of runners that there is no limit to human potentiality.

Ted Corbitt was born in South Carolina on January 31, 1920, the eldest son of John and Alma Corbitt. Life was hard in the early days. Since the school bus was restricted to white children, Ted had to run the two miles back and forth to school each day and spend his free time after school helping out on his father's farm.

During the Depression the family moved to Cincinnati, where Ted's running took root in high school and college racing. After serving in the army during World War II, he married and went to New York City, where he began work as a physical therapist at the International Center for the Disabled on Manhattan's lower East Side.

Working at the Center and studying for his Master's degree in physical therapy, there wasn't much time for running at first. But in 1950 he began training for the Boston Marathon and two years later found himself on the U.S. marathon team at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics.

In the Fifties, distance-running was still virtually unknown in America. In New York, the few athletes who trained and raced would work out in Macomb's Dam Park, across the street from Yankee Stadium. In June 1958, a group of these runners formed the Road Runners Club, NY Association, and later as president of the Road Runners Club of America, Ted helped shape the course of distance running in America.

img020.jpgIn the early Sixties he began branching out into ultramarathoning. The Road Runners Club put on its first ultra, a 30-miler in 1959, which Ted won in 3:04:13. In 1962 he ran the famous 52.5-mile London-to-Brighton Road Race and finished fourth with a time of 5:53:37. In 1963 he really got going, winning the A.A.U. 35-mile run, the RRC 44-mile run and the Bronx-Dobbs Ferry 30-miler. 1964 found Ted virtually unbeatable in the ultras, when he ran six of them, won five and placed 2nd in the London-to-Brighton. Throughout the Sixties and early Seventies Ted Corbitt was one of the leading distance runners in the world, winning or finishing near the top in almost every one of the many races he ran.

In 1969, only a month after finishing his fifth London-to-Brighton in his best time, 5:38:11, he ran the 100-mile Walton-on-Thames run in a time of 13:33:06 breaking the American record by over 3 hours. Then in 1973 at the age of 53 he ran an incredible 134.7 miles in a 24-hour race!

During more than two decades of running Ted completed nearly 200 marathons and ultramarathons, was an 1952 Olympian and held U.S. records in 25 miles, the marathon, 40 miles and 50 miles. A recent article by Gerald Couzens said, '...it was Corbitt's amazing endurance and his ability to constantly return to the starting line month after month, season after season, and perform with the same burning intensity, that set him apart from all other marathoners in the country, perhaps even in the history of the sport.'

But Ted Corbitt's greatness cannot be measured in hours and minutes, in medals or trophies. Long after his records are broken, and broken again, this champion will be remembered and honored in the hearts of the countless runners whose lives have been touched by his heroic spirit. As a result of Ted Corbitt's efforts, both on and off the road and tracks, American runners today are among the best in the world.

Ted Corbitt - quiet, unassuming, often described as saintly - but with an indomitable spirit and dynamic will that helped make distance running the sport it is today.

- Thanks Ted.'

Editor's note: in the 2001 Self-Transcendence Six Day Race held on Wards Island, New York, Ted set an 80- 84 age record of an amazing 303 miles!