BOSTON (Oct. 29, 2020) – Inspired by the legacy of New York Pioneer Club athlete Ted Corbitt and in celebration of 50 years of New York’s marathon, Tracksmith today introduces the New York Pioneer Club Collection, a capsule collection designed in collaboration with writer, coach, and Black Roses NYC founder Knox Robinson. Using archival images of the Club’s uniforms, this limited-edition collection features racing kits, tees, sweatshirts, and ephemera with the Pioneer’s signature varsity lettering and team colors. Five percent of all collection sales will go to support the Jeuness Track Club, a community-based girl’s track club founded thanks to the lasting legacy of the Pioneers.
Ted Corbitt has been called the “spiritual elder of the modern running clan” and the father of long-distance running. The first Black athlete to compete in the Olympic Marathon for the United States, he was the co-founder and president of the New York Road Runners and instrumental in creating the course measurement standards we rely on today. A member of the New York Pioneer Club and an acclaimed physical therapist, he completed four 300-mile training weeks while working full time, averaging 44.6 miles a day, and set several American records. His consistency and longevity were astounding, running over 1000 miles in one month at age 50 and walking 300 miles in six days at age 82.
“Ted Corbitt laid the foundation for our sport as we know it today, from the marathon courses we race to the vibrant running culture that endures in New York City,” said Tracksmith founder and CEO Matt Taylor, “We’re honored to have the opportunity to celebrate his achievements and the legacy of the New York Pioneer Club. Corbitt embodied the amateur spirit, not only in his approach to training but in his unrivaled passion for the sport as a whole.”
Founded in 1936 in Harlem by three Black athletes – Joseph J. Yancey, Robert Douglas and William Culbreath – the Pioneer Club’s mission was “to support, encourage, and advance athletics among youth of the New York Metropolitan district, regardless of Race, Color or Creed. To encourage and further the ambition of our youth for higher education that they might become intelligent, civic-minded citizens, and to work toward a better racial understanding through the medium of education and sports.” Corbitt became a member of the nation’s first integrated running club in 1947. He joined a group of championship athletes across a wide-range of disciplines from track and field to ultramarathoning, including Olympians Bob Beamon, John Carlos, Elliott Denman, Meredith Gourdine, Byron LaBeach, Gordon McKenzie, Oscar Moore and Reggie Pearman.
“As I've pondered the life and legend of Ted Corbitt through the filter of today's running boom,” said Knox Robinson, “I've likewise been doing a little bit to share the story of the New York Pioneer Club—America's first multiracial athletics club, founded in 1936 a decade before the integration of professional sports in the USA—of which Ted was a proud member. I’ve long wanted to create a collection that would celebrate this spirit. Working together with the team at Tracksmith offered the opportunity to not only create products but to tell this story in greater depth.”
Five percent of all collection sales will go to support Jeuness Track Club. The club, which is female-founded and led, supports youth runners in Brooklyn through coaching and academic mentorship. Jeuness traces its roots to the legacy of the Pioneers, which inspired clubs throughout the U.S. Founder Jean Bell competed under the tutelage of Fred Thompson, whose Atoms Track Club was one of the first for women. Thompson was himself a Pioneer.
The full New York Pioneer Club Collection is available at tracksmith.com/pages/new-york-pioneer-club.
Please direct Tracksmith media inquiries to PR Director Massimo Alpian at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Founded in Boston in 2014, Tracksmith is an independent running brand built on a deep love for the sport. We craft products, tell stories and create experiences that enrich the running experience. We celebrate the amateur spirit and seek to inspire the personal pursuit of excellence. Shop our latest collections for training, racing and rest days at Tracksmith.com or come run with us at the Trackhouse, 285 Newbury Street, Boston.