Theodore “Ted” Corbitt
1919 – 2007
An American Pioneer


Black Female Marathon History

All-Time Best Performances by African American Female Marathoners
American Born & Naturalized Citizen

First Winner of a Marathon: February 1975
Marilyn Bevans – Washington Birthday Marathon, Beltsville, Maryland – 3:04:32

First Sub 3 Hour Marathon: April 1975
Marilyn Bevans – Boston Marathon – 2:55:52 – 4th place

Most Sub 3 Hour Marathons American Born: 13 by Marilyn Bevans
Most Sub 2:45 Marathons American Born: 6 by Ella Willis

All-Time Best African American Female Marathoners

American Born:
Samia Akbar 2:34:14 - New York Marathon 12th place – 2006
Ella Willis 2:38:22 – Detroit Free Press Marathon 1st place – 1989
Jenae Strader 2:49:11 – Philadelphia Marathon 4th place – 1999
Alisa (Hill) Harvey 2:49:28 – Richmond Marathon 2nd place – 1999
Marilyn Bevans 2:49:56 – Boston Marathon 2nd place – 1979
Michele Soderberg 2:50:19 – Sri Chinmoy Marathon CA 1st place - 1983
Shawanna White 2:52:35 – City of Oaks Marathon 2nd place – 2012

Naturalized Citizens:
Janet Bawcom (Kenya) 2:29:45 – Olympic Trials Houston 5th place - 2012
Mary Akor (Nigeria) 2:33:50 – Twin Cities Marathon 2nd place – 2006 – 2 Year Doping Ban 2013
Obsie Birru (Ethiopia) 2:36:53 – Twin Cities Marathon 5th place - 2015
Michele Bush Cuke (Cayman Island) 2:37:41 – California International Marathon 2nd place – 1991

Number of Sub 3 Hour Marathons:
Samia Akbar - 4
Mary Akor - 59*
Janet Bawcom - 2*
Marilyn Bevans - 13
Obsie Birru - 2*
Michele Bush Cuke - 3*
Alisa (Hill) Harvey - 1
Michele Soderberg - 10
Jenae Strader - 5
Shawanna White - 5
Ella Willis - 11
*US Citizen Total

Olympic Marathon Trial Participation
1984: Michele Soderberg - Did Not Finish
1988: None
1992: Ella Willis - 24th place
1996: None
2000: Jenae Strader - 41st place; Alisa Hill Harvey - Did Not Finish
2004: Mary Akor- 17th place
2008: Samia Akbar - 18th place; Mary Akor - 19th place
2012: Janet Bawcom - 5th place
2016: Janet Bawcom- 5th place; Obsie Birru - 114th place


All-Time Best Marathon Performance Progression - American Born
Sami Akbar 2:34:14 (2006 to Present)
Michele Bush Cuke 2:37:41 (1991 - 2006)**
Ella Willis 2:38:22 (1989 to 2006)
Ella Willis 2:41:49 (1988 to 1989)
Ella Willis 2:47:57 (1984 to 1988)
Marilyn Bevans 2:49:56 (1979 to 1984)
Marilyn Bevans 2:51:12 (1977 to 1979)
Marilyn Bevans 2:55:52 (1975 to 1977)
Marilyn Bevans 3:04:32 (1975)
Marilyn Bevans 3:17:42 (1974 to 1975)
Marilyn Bevans 3:31:45 (1973 to 1974)
**Born Cayman Island

Source: Association of Road Racing Statistician
Note: This research is ongoing in search of additional athletes.

Gary Corbitt
Curator: Ted Corbitt Archives
www.tedcorbitt.com
corbittg@comcast.net

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