History Timeline Project

One of the National Black Marathoners Association’s goals is to be a source of information about Black American distance runners. We hope that this information will inspire and encourage others to pursue distance running. I started distance running in the late-1960’s. Despite my knowledge of Black history, I wasn’t aware of any Black American distance runners to use as role models.

Much to my surprise, I found my role model by reading a Black comedian’s autobiography. In the book, he described the thrill of racing in collegiate cross country meets. And he wrote about the “mind” games, that he would play to psyc out his opponents during the races. The writer, political activist, and All-American cross country runner was from my hometown of St. Louis, MO. It was Dick Gregory.

In 2013, the NBMA started the Black American Distance Runner Hall of Fame to recognize their contributions and accomplishments. Later that year, Gary Corbitt was appointed to be the NBMA’s Historian. His objectives are to gather information about Black North American and Native American distance runners and share it with the public.

This section will be periodically updated as information becomes available. When possible, we’ll provide links to other websites, which may provide additional information about the runner.

If you have information about other runners, including photos, please send it to Comments@BlackMarathoners.org.

Black American Long Distance Running History Project
Pedestrian Years (1879 – 1899)Frank Hart
1879 F. Williams 27-Hour Race 126 Miles
1879 G. Stevens 62-Hour Walk for Negroes 182 Miles
1879 S. Smith 62-Hour Walk for Negroes 181.5 Miles
1880 Frank Hart Pedestrian – World Record Holder Six-Day Race
1880 William Pegram Pedestrian – O’Leary Belt – 6-Day Race 2nd Place
1880 Ed Williams Pedestrian – O’Leary Belt – 6-Day Race 7th Place
1899 James Dean Pedestrian – 6-Day Race 5th Place
1900 – 1918
1909 John Stookey (Stuckey) Berwick Marathon Finisher
1909 Howard Hale Pittsburgh Marathon 1st Place
1909 Charles Burden New Orleans Marathon 1st Place
1919 – 1935
1919 Aaron Morris Boston Marathon 6th Place
1920 R. Earl Johnson U.S. Olympian 10,000 Meters
1920 Clifford Mitchell Berwick Marathon 11th Place
1921 R. Earl Johnson U.S. Champion Cross-Country 
1924 R. Earl Johnson U.S. Olympian Cross-Country – 3rd Place
1924 R. Earl Johnson U.S. Olympian 10,000 Meters – 8th Place
1928 Phillip Granville Pyle Trans American Race 3rd Place
1928 Ed Gardiner Pyle Trans American Race 8th Place $1K prize money
1928 Sam Robinson Pyle Trans American Race Finisher
1928 Tobie Joseph Cotton Pyle Trans American Race Finisher
1928 Gus Moore U.S. Champion Cross-Country
1929 Gus Moore Berwick Marathon 1st Place
1935 Augustus “Gus” Johnson Port Chester Marathon 3rd Place
1936 – 1957Ted Corbitt
1936 Joseph Yancey New York Pioneer Club Formed Co-Founder
1942 Frank Dixon U.S. Champion Cross-Country
1949 Bill Lucas NCAA Cross-Country 3rd Place
1949 Lou White Boston Marathon 3rd Place
1950 New York Pioneer Club U.S. Marathon Championship Team 1st Place
1950 Lou White U.S. Champion Road – 15K
1952 Ted Corbitt U.S. Olympian Marathon
1954 Ted Corbitt U.S. Champion Marathon
1955 New York Pioneer Club Boston Marathon Team Championship
1955 Charles “Deacon” Jones NCAA Cross-Country Champion
1956 Charles “Deacon” Jones U.S. Olympian Steeplechase
1956 Joe Tyler Boston Marathon 8th Place  
Road Runners Club of American Early Years (1958 – 1971)
1960 Charles “Deacon” Jones U.S. Olympian Steeplechase
1962 San Jose State First Integrated Team To Win NCAA Cross-Country
1962 Jimmy Borden United Athletic Association Club Founder
1964 Oscar Moore U.S Olympian 5,000 Meters
1968 Lou Scott U.S. Olympian 5,000 Meters
1969 Jared Beads American Record – Non Stop Running 121.25 Miles
1970 Moses Mayfield Philadelphia Marathon 1st Place
Running Boom Early Years (1972 – 1979)Marilyn Bevans
1973 Ted Corbitt American Record 24 Hour Run
1973 Marilyn Bevans Maryland Marathon 2nd Place
1974 Marilyn Bevans Beltsville Marathon 2nd Place
1975 Arthur Hall Penn Relays Marathon 1st Place
1977 Marilyn Bevans Maryland Marathon 1st Place
1977 Marilyn Bevans Beltsville Marathon 1st Place
1977  Marilyn Bevans Boston Marathon 2nd Place
1977 Marilyn Bevans Mayor Daley (Chicago) Marathon 2nd Place
1978 Marilyn Bevans Maryland Marathon 2nd Place
1979 Herm Atkins Nike/Oregon Track Club Marathon 5th Place 2:11:52
1979 Marilyn Bevans Maryland Marathon 1st Place
1980 Marilyn Bevans Mayor Daley (Chicago) Marathon 3rd Place

 

800-METER, 1500-METER, ONE-MILE, AND CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONS
1932 Phil Edwards Canadian Olympian 800 & 1500 Meters – 3rd Place
1935 James “Jimmy” Smith Indiana University – 4 X 1-Mile Team NCAA Record
1936 John Woodruff U.S. Olympian 800 Meter – 1st Place
1936 Phil Edwards Canadian Olympian 800 Meter – 3rd Place
1943 Rudy Simms High School Record Holder One Mile
1948 Mal Whitfield U.S. Olympian 800 Meter – 1st Place
1950 Dr. Roscoe Lee Browne U.S. Champion Indoor – 1,000 Yard Run
1951 New York Pioneer Club U.S. Indoor Team Championship
1951 Dr. Roscoe Lee Browne U.S. Champion Indoor – 1,000 Yard Run
1951 Larry Ellis NCAA Track & Field 800 Meters – 3rd Place
1951 Dick Gregory Track & Field All-American Southern Illinois University
1952 Reggie Pearman U.S. Olympian 800 Meters
1952 Mal Whitfield U.S. Olympian 800 Meters -1st Place
1956 Arnie Sowell U.S. Olympian 800 Meters -4th Place
1956 Ted Wheeler U.S. Olympian 1500 Meters
1956 Ron Gregory High School Record Holder One Mile
1961 Rose Lovelace 880 Indoor World Record Holder 2:24.8
1964 Ben Tucker 1500 Meters – 4 Minute Mile Equivalent 3:40.8
1965 Harry McCalla Track & Field All-American Stanford
1968 Madeline Manning – Mims U.S. Olympian 800 Meters – 1st Place
1968 Jarvis Scott U.S. Olympian – 400M 800 Meter PR 2:04.5
1970 Cheryl Toussaint New York PSAL High School 800-Meter Record 2:04.5
1971 Byron Dyce Sub 4-Minute Mile 3:59.6
1973 Reggie McAfee Sub 4-Minute Mile 3:59.3
1973 Tommy Fulton Sub 4-Minute Mile 3:57.8
1974 Robin Campbell U.S. Indoor Track Championship – 1500 Meters 1st Place
1974 Dennis Fikes Sub 4-Minute Mile 3:55.0