Ted Corbitt - the father of modern ultrarunning

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Ted Corbitt in his prime

Ultrarunning, or running distances longer than the marathon, only gained popularity as a sport in the last thirty years. Much of this popularity is due to Ted Corbitt who worked tirelessly to promote and organise ultrarunning events. Over a 30 year running career Corbitt ran almost 200 marathons and ultramarathons, and discovered such important advances as the importance of hydration (the idea came from one long run when he caught snowflakes with his tongue!). "Sure, I sort of used myself as a human laboratory," he once said, "but it was no big deal, because I was only doing what I loved."

Ted worked as a physiotherapist and would run back and forward from work, often notching up 200 miles in a week. Sometimes he would get stopped by police who didnt understand why a black man would be running everywhere. Despite his enormous contributions, his name is not as well known as others; he preferred to just do what came natural to him andleave the limelight to others. He was also very involved in the organisational side of things like setting up standards to certify races. He is called by many 'the father of ultradistance running'.

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Ted still going strong.....

Believe it or not, Ted is still participating in ultra races in his eighties: on the right is a picture of him participating in a 24-hour race at age 84.


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