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Gary Corbitt has contacted several people concerning how to sort through and archive about 25 boxes of material which Ted Corbitt saved over the years.

He wrote:


I'm deciding what items to keep from my father's apartment. He had indicated to me that he was given the okay to get rid of past course certification records. There are approximately 25 boxes of certification correspondence that Ted kept. The boxes and records are grouped by year. Rich Innamorato is helping me to review these boxes with the idea of keeping a sampling of the work done during this era. We have found correspondence between John Sterner, John Jewell, Bob Campbell, and Aldo Scandurra from the 1950's - 1960's. My father didn't throw anything away so any important historical correspondence/documents that you're aware of, please let us know.

I have a mailing address for Sally & Wayne Nicoll and Robert Letson; please forward an e-mail address for these individuals.


I had correspondence with Ted in 2007. What follows is my last exchange of letters with Ted.

At this point I am no longer a volunteer to lead the work, but if someone is interested in doing the heavy lifting I may be willing to assist, depending on what’s involved.

Is anyone interested in working on this? An offer to work is more welcome than a suggestion that someone else should do it.
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I think the historical correspondence from the 50s and 60s should be somehow archived.

I am particularly interested with the international correspondence which Ted had with John Jewell and may be others of whom I am not aware. A lot of the early work on measurement techniques was done as a result of collaboration between Ted and John Jewell. Before his death John Jewell gave me permission to publish his 1961 paper comparing measurement methods and this is now linked at Here is a quote from that web page.
John's paper not only guided the development of current methods in the UK, but the methods which he described were to be adopted internationally. An important factor in this dissemination was John's friendship with the American ultra distance runner, Ted Corbitt. Around 1961, Ted had visited the UK to compete in the London to Brighton (which John had measured with great precision). In the 1960's Ted led the introduction of John's methods in the USA. In 1964 Ted published a monograph entitled "Measuring Road Running Courses" under the auspices of the Road Runners Club,USA. This contained a survey of measurement methods around the world. It quoted in detail from John's paper, and helped bring about world-wide acceptance of the calibrated bicycle method as the standard for road races.

I would be very happy to assist with saving historically important parts of Ted's correspondence in any way that is thought appropriate. It is a bit hard to offer help to do any direct sorting through, being an ocean away. However, what I can offer to do is to work on any documents which can be photographed and emailed to me, (or even a bundle of papers posted). What I would be very happy to do is to organise and transcribe any material and make it suitable for publication on a CD or an appropriate website. I would be happy to this following any wishes expressed by Gary, and especially in collaboration with anyone who has some interest in the early US history

Subject: Ted Corbitt Archives: Course Certification Records - Follow-up
Date: 11/27/2008 8:45:09 A.M. Eastern Standard Time

Each of you have been great stewards of the pioneering work of John Sterner, John Jewell, Aldo Scandurra, my father, and others to legitimize our sport with universal standards, procedures, and record keeping. My father felt his course certification work was by far his greatest contribution to the sport. He worked tirelessly with you for years as each of you led this effort in your various capacities.

My father threw nothing away. As Jennifer mentioned most of his correspondence was done in duplicate. Thanks for all the feedback on my initial note. The attached document is that feedback. Here are some follow-up thoughts:

My long term goal is to establish a museum/library that inspires generations of young people about the history of our sport. I’ll be also looking for colleges to donate papers and correspondence of my father in running, physical therapy, and integrated health approaches.

I’d like for the USATF/RRTC to develop recommendations at the convention for what to do with my father’s course measurement records. I hope to close out the apartment by the end of January.

For the Ted Corbitt Archives, I’m pulling out correspondence and a sampling of races and examples of the paperwork showing the certification process. I’d also like to develop a historical course certification time-line of key events/changes in procedures/controversies of note, and keep documents that tell the story. This could include races with unique issues. I’d like your feedback on key historical moments in course certification history.

I feel Pete Riegel offers a good model and a number of you have concurred that scanning materials into electronic form and putting on a CD is necessary. Pete has sent me and my father a historical compilation of certification materials in a CD. The historical time-line mentioned earlier could perhaps be gained from this CD.

Ted’s records are organized by year. The original envelops are labeled with the race name and includes the certification paperwork. These files and boxes appear to be purely race specific certification materials.

I’ll be at the apartment twice in December and invite anyone in the tri-state area to visit me and review the materials. My New York dates are 12/4 – 12/7, and 12/18 – 12/27.

If we decide to save marathon records only as Rich suggested, who’d receive these documents?

My father kept small binders that I believe list all courses that were certified in a given year. There are probably twenty of these binders. I haven’t spent time looking at these, but I believe they contain basic info about the race, the course, and date of certification. Jennifer mentioned rectangles of paper, perhaps this is what’s in the binders.

Alan Jones – I haven’t seen your correspondence with my father yet, but I expect to find it when I start concentrating more on these files.


Hi Gary,

When Jennifer and I gave up the NRDC and distributed all the boxes of
race results that we had to the regional volunteers that we had found,
we must have shipped out 30 or more boxes that I wish I had now (altho I
have NO idea where I would keep them). The point is, you never really
know what someone ten or more years down the line will REALLY NEED.
I've contacted a number of race directors who told me they had "cleaned
house" and thrown out the very information that I was seeking. A lot of
this is simply not replaceable. Every effort needs to be made to
archive Ted's files.

One of the current projects of the Association of Road Racing
Statisticians (ARRS) is to document every marathon that has ever been
held in the world. Thus, the marathon certificates would certainly be
of value in our research. They would tell us of the intent to hold a
marathon and give us particulars on where and who was involved. These
are all clues to help us find more information.

The ARRS faces a similar problem with archiving data. I am working 50+
hours a week to get all significant performances into a computer
database and onto the web. However, what is considered significant
keeps expanding. We are trying to preserve the history of our sport
before it is lost. Electronic versions are, in my opinion, the best way
to go. They can be easily copied and archived in several different
locations. They don't take up that much space. They are more readily
accessible that hard copy. And, they can easily be copied to more
modern media as such becomes available and thereby avoid the
obsolescence problem.

My two cents worth, please keep me posted.

Best wishes,


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