Buenos dias. It’s Friday. Today we’ll find out about one of the most important marathon runners many participants in Sunday’s New York City Marathon have probably never heard of. We’ll also get details on a settlement that will mean a $328 million payout for Uber and Lyft drivers.
This is for all you runners who have designs on the five boroughs on Sunday. You can thank, or curse, a man named Ted Corbitt.
Corbitt is credited with moving the New York City Marathon beyond Central Park, where he was run in his first five years. “He pitched the five-borough marathon,” Allison Robinson, a curator of an exhibit at the New-York Historical Society, told me.
Part of the race on Sunday will follow Ted Corbitt Loop, a six-mile circuit that he knew well. The Department of Parks and Recreation named it for him In 2021, 14 years after he died at 88, one of the most important runners many Marathon participants have probably never heard of.
The sportswriter Larry Merchant wrote in the 1990s that there were long-distance runners who would mention Corbitt’s name “with a reverence that suggested he was a saint while they were humble impostors.” He said they would “mumble something about 100-mile races and 24-hour races, and then their voices would trail off as if they were unworthy to be on the same planet, much less road, with him.”
At times, Corbitt was the American record-holder in the marathon, the 100-mile run and 25-, 40- and 50-kilometer events. His fastest time in a marathon was 2 hours 26 minutes 44 seconds. He would have come in 31st if he had posted that time in last year’s marathon, which is staged by the New York Road Runners Club. Guess who was his first president.
A pin he brought home from the 1952 Olympics is in the exhibit at the historical society, along with the shoes he wore. “It helps you take a step back in time and get a glimpse of the details,” Robinson said.
One fact about Corbitt and the Olympics is more than a detail. Corbitt was the first Black runner to represent the United States in an Olympic marathon, Robinson said. “By participating, he was literally breaking racial barriers on a global level in a way that reverberates today,” she said.
Indeed, the exhibit at the historical society — “Running for Civil Rights: The New York Pioneer Club, 1936-1976” — tells not only the story of Corbitt, but also of Joseph Yancey Jr., a co-founder of the New York Pioneer Club, organized in Harlem as an integrated track and field organization. Corbitt was a Pioneer Club member before the New York Road Runners group was established.
“Corbitt was the inside man during the running boom,” Robert Lipsyte wrote in 1994, “while the more ambitious and extroverted gurus” drummed up support and “drew the crowds to run in them.”
But Corbitt ran in the first New York City Marathon, in 1970 — he wore bib No. 1. Of the 55 runners who paid the $1 entry fee, Corbitt fifth finished, in 2:44:15. He came in 13 minutes behind the winner, Gary Muhrcke, then a 30-year-old New York City firefighter who had signed up 15 minutes before the starting gun, not sure he was in shape to run. Muhrcke had not trained for a few weeks while nursing a leg injury.
Robinson said that Corbitt’s legacy included measuring the course in the park, the loop now named for Corbitt. She said he had pedaled around the park on a bicycle equipped with a cyclometer, a device that measured the rotations of the wheel to which it was attached.
“This completely revolutionized the way we measure long-distance races,” Robinson said. “Car odometers aren’t as precise. I measured the original New York City Marathon down to one-1,000th of a mile. That is how precise he had it, and then he published extensively about his technique. It’s the foundation of how all modern road races are measured.”
That first race, and the marathons from 1971 to 1975, were run entirely in Central Park. For 1976 — when the city was struggling after being pushed to near-bankruptcy — Corbitt had the idea to take the race to the rest of the city, perhaps as a five-borough competition among runners. George Spitz “went a step further,” Frank Litsky wrote in The New York Times, proposing threading a course through all five boroughs. And so the race has been run ever since.
As for the exhibit at the historical society, Rodnell Workman, senior vice president of New York Road Runnerssaid his group “had a vested interest in making sure the story was told.”
He said someone had told him that when Corbitt stopped running races, he took up walking.
“That told me a lot about Ted,” Workman said. “We talk about the evolution of running, what gets people into the sport and what happens when they can no longer compete. He said, ‘I can still be competitive.’ “I was told he walked a couple of marathons, where he had a great pace.”
Expect a sunny day with temperatures reaching the mid- to high 50s. In the evening, clouds will roll in, and the temperature will drop to the mid-40s.
In effect until Tuesday (Election Day).
The latest Metro news
Uber and Lyft agree to a $328 million settlement for drivers
Uber and Lyft have agreed to a $328 million payout for drivers.
The two companies reached a settlement after the state attorney general investigated a wage-theft complaint that accused them of collecting some taxes and fees from drivers rather than from passengers.
Uber will pay $290 million, and Lyft will put $38 million into two funds that will pay out claims that roughly 100,000 current and former drivers in New York State are eligible to file for. My colleagues Ana Ley and Kellen Browning write that the ride-hailing companies did not admit fault in the settlement.
Separately, Gov. Kathy Hochul said that Uber would start making regular payments to the state’s unemployment insurance program as part of a settlement with New York’s Labor Department. Uber will also make retroactive payments going back to 2013. The governor’s office declined to disclose the total amount of that settlement, citing confidentiality laws on unemployment insurance data.
The investigation by the office of the attorney general, Letitia James, also looked into whether the companies had failed to provide drivers with paid sick leave. Under the settlement, drivers will earn one hour of sick pay for every 30 hours they work, up to 56 hours per year. Uber and Lyft will also allow drivers to request sick leave through their apps.
In addition, ride-share drivers outside the city will be guaranteed minimum pay of $26 per hour, although that figure counts only the time between a dispatch and the completion of a ride, as opposed to the time spent waiting to connect with a rider, which would be more lucrative. Drivers within the city already receive minimum pay under regulations established by the Taxi and Limousine Commission in 2019.
I was at a Broadway theater waiting for the show to start when a couple approached the people in the row in front of me.
“I think you two are in our seats,” one said to the people sitting there.
As they compared one another’s tickets, an usher arrived and had a look.