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Thursday, November 10, 2016

85-Year-Old Runner Still Breaking Records

Ed Whitlock photo credit Victor Sailer

Ed Whitlock follows his own regimen, including daily runs through the local cemetery.

Few 85-year-olds can run marathons, but Ed Whitlock not only completes them but sets records. The Canadian recently broke the record for the Toronto Marathon men’s 85-89 age group by more than 30 minutes, running the race in 3 hours and 56 minutes and shattering the previous mark set in 2004. Over the last couple of decades, the retired engineer from Milton, Ontario has achieved a reputation as one of the great masters runners. His accomplishments include running a full marathon at age 73 in 2 hours and 54 minutes and running a marathon at age 80 in 3 hours and 15 minutes.

Whitlock’s running regimen is a far cry from his younger cohorts. He doesn’t listen to music, do ice baths or massages, or use heart rate monitors. When his knees start hurting, he stops running for a while. His running shoes are 15 years old, and his daily 3-hour runs are through the nearby cemetery, mostly because it’s cool in summer.

“I don’t follow what typical coaches say about serious runners,” he told Runner’s World in 2010. “I have not strong objections to any of that, but I’m not sufficiently organized or ambitious to do all the things you’re supposed to do if you’re serious. The more time you spend fiddle-diddling with this and that, the less time there is to run or waste time in other ways.”

He doesn’t seem to particularly enjoy running. It’s the competition that gets him going, although even breaking the record in a Waterloo, Ontario, marathon in April was somewhat disappointing.

“I should have been able to run a bit faster than that,” Whitlock told the Wall Street Journal. “I wasn’t entirely satisfied.”


At 85, Ed Whitlock Breaks Four Hours in the Marathon,” Oct. 17, 2016, Runners World.

Time Can’t Beat Ed Whitlock: Running’s 85-Year-Old Legend,” May 4, 2016, Wall Street Journal.

Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors