Portraits of running icons Grete Waitz and Ted Corbitt, two legends who took long-distance running to extraordinary fame in New York City, were unveiled Tuesday night at the Armory. They will forever be showcased in the Marathon room of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Waitz’s image was taken by Lisbeth Michelsen and published in 2010. The portrait of Corbitt was the work of Staten Island artist Sarah Yuster. Her work can be found in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the National Air & Space Museum, Harvard and Yale universities and the Bangkok Royal Compound in Thailand.
Yuster, along with Corbitt’s son Gary, was on hand for the unveiling.
Also made public was the Ted Corbitt Memorial Award plaque, which USA Track & Field gives to the Male Ultrarunner of the Year.
“It’s fair to say Ted’s spirit is what we have today in long-distance running,” said Armory Foundation Executive Director Dr. Norb Sander. “Ted was a remarkable runner, a remarkable health physician, a remarkable writer and a remarkable husband and father.”
Corbitt (1919-2007) was often called “the father of long-distance running.” He was an ultramarathon pioneer, helping in the 1960s and ’70s to revive interest in marathons within the United States. He was the founding president of the New York Road Runners Club and the Runners Club of America. He helped develop the route for the ING New York City Marathon.
Waitz (1953-2011) of Norway won a record nine New York City Marathons between 1978 and 1988. Waitz was also a world record holder, the 1983 gold medal winner in the World Championships in Helsinki and captured a silver medal in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. She’s known for her contributions to the promotion of marathon and long-distance running for women.
“It was on our streets where she shined,” said New York Road Runners CEO and President Mary Wittenberg. “She may have been born in Norway, but to so many of us, she will always be a New Yorker. I can’t think of a better place to recognize her than here in the Marathon room in the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.”