You’re never too old to become a faster runner. Just ask 82-year-old Ed Whitlock, who ran the half-marathon in 1:38:11 on Sunday, September 15, breaking by 48 seconds the 80-and-older world record he set last year.
Whitlock posted both record-breaking times in his adopted hometown of Milton, Ontario, and as he told the Runner’s World Newswire, he went into this year’s race gunning for 1:37. And why not? He’d done a 10K in 44:22 the previous weekend.
“After a somewhat slow first 3K, I managed to get on pace at 7K, but then it gradually slipped away,” he said.
Even so, Whitlock has an impressive résumé. Among marathoners, he’s the world-record holder in both the 70- and 80-and-over age divisions, having notched times of 2:54:48 and 3:15:54, respectively.
Decades earlier, the English native ran a 4:31 mile in high school and defeated world-record holder Gordon Pirie in a cross-country race, Runner’s World reported in a 2010 story. Unfortunately, Achilles troubles cut short what might have been a promising career, and he didn’t start racing again until his 40s, after he’d moved to Quebec and started a family.
These days, he does all of his training in the cemetery two and a half blocks from his house, and whether he’s focusing on speed or doing three-hour pre-marathon workouts, he never times his loops.
On October 20, Whitlock will compete in the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, where he set a new age-81 world record last year with a time of 3:30:26.
Just as he recently improved on his 2012 half-marathon time, he’s hoping to trim a cool five minutes off last year’s mark.
“My training between now and then and weather conditions on the day will determine my objective time," Whitlock said. "All things going favorably, I would guess at 3:25.”