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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Marble Hill Olympian Ted Corbitt honored with street naming

By Tanisia Morris

When the late Ted Corbitt was not running tirelessly through the streets or sprinting from Marble Hill to his job as a physiotherapist on East 24th Street, he was running up and down 15 flights of stairs in the Marble Hill Houses — 15 times in a row. 

Mr. Corbitt’s fervent commitment to competitive running and his dedication to the Marble Hill community were honored on Sunday when West 228th Street was co-named Ted Corbitt Way.  

Ted Corbitt Way occupies a portion of Broadway in front of 5240 Broadway on 228th Street, where Mr. Corbitt, “the father of long distance running,” lived from 1955 to 1974. In 2012, Community Board 8 unanimously approved the street renaming proposals for Ted Corbitt Way.

Local residents, Mr. Corbitt’s longtime friends and sprinters from New York Road Runners (NYRR), the organization that Mr. Corbitt co-founded in 1958, all joined Mr. Corbitt’s son Gary Corbitt for the unveiling of the sign and to share anecdotes about Mr. Corbitt’s career and character. State Sen. Adriano Espaillat, Rep. Charles Rangel and former Councilman Robert Jackson were also present for the ceremony (see Campaign diary, page A4).

Part of the annual Marble Hill Family Day celebration, the street co-naming of Broadway between 225th to 228th further highlights the significance of Mr. Corbitt’s contributions to the sports world. 


‘Quiet and humble’


Friends described him as quiet and humble despite his myriad accomplishments. 

“For me, it was the way he handled himself,” said George Hirsch, 80, chairman of the NYRR board. “He was modest.”

According to Mr. Corbitt’s own records, during his lifetime, he participated in 199 marathons and ultramarathons, races that exceed the traditional 26.2-mile marathon. He also was the first African-American to run in an Olympic marathon, at Helsinki in 1952, according to NYRR.

He completed 300-mile training weeks while working, Gary Corbitt said. 

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