Competitor.com shared news of an incredible feat by a Canadian runner who has been making history for decades. “Ed Whitlock, 85, Runs Sub 4 Hour Marathon in Toronto”, by Mark Eller relates how he finished the ScotiaBank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Sunday, October 16 in 3 hours, 56 minutes, and 33 seconds.
“According to Canadian Running magazine, Whitlock broke the men’s 85-89 world record (4:34:55) set in 2004 by more than 30 minutes, and he did it while wearing a 30-year-old racing singlet and 15-year-old pair of Brooks shoes.” This is amazing!
In April the Milton, Ontario man “crushed the half marathon world record for his age group with a 1:50:47 clocking (8:27mile pace) in Waterloo Ontario”. On June 10 of this year he ran a 7:18.55 mile in a race at Cambridge Ontario, breaking the previous 85+ age-group world record of 8:04 set by Joseph Galia, of Germany, in 1985.
Whitlow owns dozens of other age-group masters’ records, according to another Competitor.com article, “starting with the 1:20:33 half marathon and 2:51:02 marathon he ran at age 68”. Among his other records are “a 18:45 5K at age 75, a 3:15:53 marathon at age 80, and a 44:22 10K at age 82” and a 3:41:57 marathon at the same age, all reported in the same Competitor.com piece.
We might easily dismiss these stories as tales of a freak of nature, thinking, “who can be normal and run this fast at such an advanced age?” However, Mr. Whitlow must train more effectively and likely much “smarter” than more youthful competitors to remain healthy in order to earn these honors. No doubt he has his share of aches and pains, days he doesn’t feel like getting outside in harsh weather (he’s Canadian, eh!), and sessions of stretching and foam rolling he would rather skip.
Performing well against ourselves to get a personal record (PR), or against peers to win an age–group award requires what this man seems to possess: dedication, perseverance, and mental toughness. He has the audacity to line up with much younger runners, wearing outdated apparel and shoes. He’s game (urban dictionary definition #7: (adj) a state of being willing to do something). Yet, he might not have ever trained, stayed home on each of the record-breaking occasions, not tested himself, and he/we would never have learned how fast he could run each of those distances.
How can his successes inspire us? One message might be that we too can dare to try.
BRIDGE TO PHYSICAL SELF
Running, walking, and fitness activities enable us to experience our physical selves in a world mostly accessed through use of fingers on a mobile device.
EARNED RUNS is edited and authored by me, runner and founder. I began participating in road races before 5Ks were common. I've been a dietitian, practiced and taught clinical pathology, and been involved with research that utilized pathology. I am fascinated with understanding the origins of disease as well as health.
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