Runners usually start out by wanting to be fast. They train and tweak all of the ingredients to get faster until they have a formula. Eventually, they simply cannot do it anymore and get involved holistically or leave running alone. You have lived this process and have now become the runner who is intimately involved in races. You are on the back end of races making them safe and enjoyable. The challenge of getting better is still there but a little different (i.e., How do we make it safer? etc.).
Keron: You have been doing race logistics and technical directing for races for some time. What led you to be on the back end of running?
Ted: There is something special about working behind the scenes to create a memorable experience for an individual or group. Watching my parents host get-togethers in our apartment in the Bronx as a kid may have subconsciously contributed to my wanting to create and be a part of special experiences. I have been in the event production space for 25 years and can also trace back to high school and college programs and activities I was a part of or led that involved creating unforgettable experiences. All events share a similar DNA. Whether it's a party, music festival, charity walk/bike ride or the TCS New York City Marathon, the goal and mission is to execute a safe, logistically sound, and enjoyable experience. My first experience working on the Marathon was in 2001 and I never looked back. Working in the endurance event space is as challenging and rewarding as competing in them.
Keron: As the Senior Vice President of events for NYRR, what about the process of cultivating a successful event provides you with the most satisfaction?
Ted: There are some core components that contribute to a successful race and event.
Second, the event is built on a sound logistical foundation. There are technical race rules & elements that are key to successful events--rules that are governed by USATF and World Athletics.
Third is the Experience. There are amazing moments that we create that people hold on to for the rest of their lives. As Maya Angelo once beautifully said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Keron: NYRR has certain races that have a sweet spot for certain communities. This would be Percy Sutton, or Ted Corbitt for example. How are you working to provide more of that diversity and meaning to these races to connect with more communities?
Ted: At NYRR, we are in a unique position to introduce people to running, engage people with running, and inspire people through running. When we are able to do that in communities of diverse cultures, and those communities see their own members participating in our adult and Rising New York Road Runner youth events, it engages through action and example. Running has changed since the early days and more people of all kinds of backgrounds and abilities are engaging with the sport and by doing so are demystifying it. Many of the races we produce in communities like Washington Heights, Harlem, Queens, and the Bronx have their own community of runners that are part of crews and clubs that also reflect cultural diversity.
It Will Move You!!
Keron: One of the best stories of the NYC marathon may be your own, Ted. How do you put into perspective the son of Haitian immigrants, one of whom was a housekeeper (Ted’s mother Ines) for the St. Moritz, Central Park, would someday become the race director for the biggest race in the world that would pass the very same hotel along its route?
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