Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ted Corbitt Passes...

There are certain "sports things" I will argue until the day I die: chief among them is the fact that Cal Ripken's games-played streak is supremely overrated. Who else ever got such recognition for simply showing up to work everyday? I mean, there's a reason they stop handing out perfect attendance certificates in grade school - after that, attendance is, ya know, kind of expected from adults. So by the same token, I don't have a lot of use for so-called "ultra"-marathoning (you know what's "ultra"? Running 26.2 miles in 130 minutes or faster...). Running extra far or extra long is impressive, but you know what else is? Juggling for a long time.

Nevertheless, it was with real sadness that I discovered Ted Corbitt had passed away today. [reported by Runners World Online] Maybe it was the fact that I always kind of identified with him a little because he came from Cincinnati, like me. Transplanted to New York, like me. That I respected the way he crammed an extra run into his lunch break and took laps around Manhattan -- the whole island -- or that I smiled at the way he kept snacks for himself in his mailbox so he could grab them mid-run. Whether I would debate or defend the relative "achievement" of his athletic endeavors, I could only ever credit his most impressive identity: pioneer in the face of racial prejudice. Corbitt ground it out against the small-minded not by railing against their outdated institutions... but by embodying the very essence of The Runner: he just kept on keeping on, running and facing down those obstacles with determination and diligence.

For a few years now, I had held dreams of someday making a visual (documentary) history of Cincinnati running, and had always thought how amazing it would be to meet this man and hear the stories and sense his grace. I'll always regret the missed chance.

[ Recent RW Video Interview with him... ]
[ Corbitt on Wikipedia ]

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