Very sad to learn of the passing of running legend Ed Whitlock at age 86 from prostate cancer.
It’s normal to idolize Ed for his running accomplishments, but I also idolized him because he seemed to be such a down-to-earth human being. I’ll miss following his exploits and good humor.
By way of tribute, here’s a post from last October, titled simply enough “Why We Love Ed Whitlock.”
Sure, he holds just about every old-age running record in the books, including being the only person to run a sub-3 hour marathon in his 70s – he did it twice – and yesterday setting a new mark for 85-year-olds by completing the Toronto Marathon in 3:56:33.
But the reason Ed Whitlock is so great is because he’s funny.
Here are a few quotes Whitlock uttered yesterday and today:
+ “My legs are shot today. I seemed to be OK yesterday after the marathon, walking around and that sort of thing, but rigor mortis has set in now.”
+ (about his beat-up running shoes) “I wear them well past their due date.”
+ (asked about the age of his singlet) “I don’t know. (long pause.) Maybe 30 years? Older than my shoes.”
+ ” I ran too fast, really, at the beginning of the race. I swear I’ll never do that and I always do it.”
Here’s Ed being interviewed at the finish by Canadian Running magazine.
Half-marathon magic from both ends of the age spectrum. Twelve-year-old LeeAdianez Rodriguez completed a half-marathon in Rochester, New York… by mistake. The local news had the story.
Then there’s the amazing Ed Whitlock. The 85-year-old world record holder in a multitude of age groups completed the Waterloo Half-Marathon in 1:50:47, setting yet another one. Here he is.
Eighty-one-year-old Ed Whitlock added to his impressive array of world records by setting a new mark in the half-marathon for the 80-84 age group.
Running a small race in his hometown of Milton, Ontario, Whitlock completed the half-marathon in a remarkable 1:38:59, beating his previous world record by 29 seconds.
“I don’t like hills,” said Whitlock. “There were no real problems today, it was more just fatigue. But I felt if I could just hold it together I’d have a chance at the record. It’s nice to set one in Milton.”
Whitlock is scheduled to run the Toronto marathon next month.
Ed Whitlock already holds all sorts of records for running while in his 70s, and last Sunday he extended his unparalleled age-group performance.
At the age of 80, Whitlock ran the Rotterdam Marathon in 3:25:40 – beating the previous world record for men his age by almost 14 minutes. It was also his first marathon in four years.
In this recent interview with Amby Burfoot of Runner’s World, Whitlock says he doesn’t cross-train, has no special diet, and does his long runs at slower than a 9-minute-per-mile pace.
People are always telling me I’m an inspiration, but I have a hard time considering myself an inspirational person. I myself don’t get particularly inspired by other people. I think I’m a very private, introspective person for the most part. I don’t do a lot of deep self-analysis or anything. You can certainly say I get a feeling of satisfaction from running well. It’s nice to set new records. But mainly I think I’m driven by a sort of dogged determination. And I refuse to let age be an excuse.
Three cheers for old dudes!
World record holders Fauja Singh, 98, and Ed Whitlock, 78, raced in Toronto last Sunday and proved once again why age is no excuse.
Singh ran a 35:18 in the 5k, while Whitlock set yet another age group record by completing the half-marathon in 1:37:33.
This is an old picture of Singh, but his footwear looks even older.