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Legends
of the Sport

Inspired by the legacy of New York Pioneer Club athlete Ted Corbitt and in celebration of 50 years of New York's marathon – the course for which Corbitt helped plan – we worked with writer, coach and Black Roses NYC founder Knox Robinson to craft our New York Pioneer Club Collection. This enamel pin celebrates the iconic team.

From the pins earned to adorn a Varsity Letter to the ones used to affix race bibs to singlets, a pin’s size often belies its significance. In 17th century England, they were considered small luxuries, the term "pin money" referred to the allowance a merchant might give to his wife. We’ve come a long way since then, but the humble pin remains something we treasure.

The Creator

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 New York Pioneer Club athlete and 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.

New York
Pioneer Club

Founded in 1936 in Harlem, NY 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.” Ted Corbitt became a member of the nation’s first integrated running club in 1947, joining a group of championship athletes across a wide-range of disciplines from track and field to ultra-marathoning, including Olympians Bob Beamon, John Carlos, Elliott Denman, Meredith Gourdine, Byron LaBeach, Gordon McKenzie, Oscar Moore and Reggie Pearman. As Gary Corbitt notes, “the Pioneer Club was special; an integrated club made up all nationalities and abilities. The NYPC was making civil rights history in Harlem and the Bronx during an era of racial segregation. The beauty and genius of Mr. Yancey was coaching an athletic team that was a vehicle for his primary mission of building men of character."

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