National Black Marathoners Association Launches Ethnic Minority Distance Runners Historical Timeline

NBMA develops an informational repository for Black American, Black Canadian, Hispanic American, and Native American long distance runners from 1879 through 1979.
NEW YORK - May 12, 2014 - PRLog -- One of the National Black Marathoners Association's (NBMA) objectives is to become a repository for inspirational and educational information about Black American, Black Canadian, Hispanic American, and Native American middle and long distance runners and running clubs. This repository was recently launched with the NBMA’s Black Distance Runner Hall of Fame and Achievement Awards Banquet. Theodore "Ted" Corbitt, Marilyn Bevans, Frances Gilbert, Warren Elzy, Frederick F. Davis III, and Angela Ivory were inducted.

Since the Hall of Fame induction, NBMA’s historian and researcher, Gary Corbitt, has been accumulating information about these ethnic minority runners. We’re pleased to announce the “History Timeline Project” will be available at the NBMA website on May 16 at

The initial timeline runs from the Pedestrian Years (1879 - 1899) with runners, such as Frank Hart (1880 Pedestrian -World Record Holder for six-day races) and Howard Hale (1909 Pittsburgh Marathon winner), through the 1970’s with runners, such as Marilyn Bevans (second place Boston Marathon finisher), Joseph Yancey (New York Pioneer Running Club Co-Founder), and Dr. Roscoe Lee Browne (actor and 1,000 yard indoor US Champion). Additional profile information will be added as it becomes available.

Gary Corbitt says, “Many credit Ted Corbitt as being the first great African American distance runner.  I wanted to initiate this project to set the record straight.  There were many black American champions dating back to the 19th Century.  It is my hope that this history timeline will inspire a generation of scholars to research and publish these untold stories.  We’re releasing this history on May 16 to commemorate the 60th Anniversary of Ted Corbitt winning the U.S.A. National Marathon Championship.”

Tony Reed, NBMA's Executive Director says, "Gary has a wealth of information about American distance runners. He's well respected and known throughout the running community. When I started running in St. Louis during the 1970’s, it was difficult to find Black American role models in distance running. I found my role model by accident while reading about his cross country exploits in his autobiography. It was our hometown comedian and political activist, Dick Gregory. Very few people knew that he was an All-American in cross country."

We’re actively soliciting information, including news clippings, articles, stories, and photos, about other runners to include in the repository.

About National Black Marathoners' Association: The National Black Marathoners Association (NBMA) is the USA's largest, not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to encouraging Black Americans and others to pursue a healthy life-style through distance running and walking. It is open to everyone, regardless of their athletic ability or previous marathon experience.

The NBMA hosts an annual, multi-race summit. Previous races (and locations) have been Lewis & Clark (St. Charles, MO), New Jersey (Long Branch, NJ), Cleveland (OH), Lost Dutchman (Apache Junction, AZ), Cowtown (Ft. Worth, TX), Georgia (Atlanta), Bermuda International Race Weekend, Deadwood-Michelson (Deadwood, SD), Madison (WI), and the Richmond (VA) Marathon.

Tony Reed
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