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Why Our Sport Needs a National Black Marathoners Association (NBMA):

I typically do not respond to an insensitive question from a person who has no understanding of the racial disparities that exists in our society. The question was posed to me as a response to my Facebook post about the outstanding six day race performance recently by racewalker Yolanda Holder. I attended the National Black Marathoners Association Summit this past weekend in Cincinnati and feel motivated to respond.

The question:
Great achievement but Black Marathoners Association sounds really wierd to me. Is there also a White Marathoners Association?

The NBMA has provided me a platform to present a first of its kind timeline (1880 – 1979) of achievements in middle and long distance running by African Americans. Over the years I’ve seen how Black Running History has been overlooked, forgotten, and not documented. It’s taken the efforts of the NBMA to help change this paradigm. The recent announcements and support by New York Road Runners, Tracksmith, and Boston Athletic Association have demonstrated a growing interest by our sport to capture all aspects of running history properly.

There are local, regional, and national hall of fame institutions within the sport of running. The national bodies like RRCA, USATF, and the dormant Distance Running Hall of Fame rarely if ever select African American HistoryMakers like the individuals that were inducted into the National Black Distance Running Hall of Fame Saturday evening. The scope of these national halls is limited to the very top echelon of athlete and race official.

It’s been clear to me over the past 12 year of my evolution into becoming a running historian that Black people need to take the lead in documenting and celebrating our history. We need to honor and say thank you to the HistoryMakers. Two ways this happened at the NBMA Summit were the National Black Distance Running Hall of Fame induction ceremony and the premier of the documentary “Breaking Three Hours: Trailblazing African-American Women Marathoners.”

2022 Hall of Fame Inductees:
Samia Akbar
Michele Bush-Cuke
Sika Henry
Reggie McAfee
Michele Tiff-Hill
Ingrid Walters
Shawanna White
Rainbow Runners Club

Gary Corbitt
Curator: Ted Corbitt Archives
Historian: National Black Marathoners Association (NBMA)