85-year-old Ont. man sets world running record
Dario Balca, CTV News
Published Monday, April 25, 2016 10:51AM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, April 27, 2016 7:32AM EDT
An 85-year-old runner from Ontario has set a new world record for his age group.
Last weekend, Ed Whitlock ran a half-marathon in Waterloo, Ont. in just over one hour and 50 minutes, something no one his age has ever done.
“I expected to run a little faster than I did today,” Whitlock said after the race. “It still was a record so I’ll be content with that I guess.”
Whitlock beat the previous 85 and up record by almost 10 minutes.
"I mainly run, I suppose, to set records,” he said. “That's the main objective for me."
And world records are something he’s no stranger to.
Whitlock set a record 13 years ago in Toronto as the only man over 70 years old to run a full marathon in under three hours.
"Nobody else has done that yet and I did it three times to make sure of it," Whitlock said.
In 2012, Whitlock, then 81, set another world record for the over 80 category at the same race.
To date, he’s run more than 40 marathons, nearly 50 half-marathons and countless shorter races.
It’s his competitive drive that’s made Whitlock a celebrity around the world. At every race he runs, Whitlock is swarmed by other runners seeking autographs and photos.
A runner in Britain in his teens, Whitlock stopped competing when he came to Canada in 1952. Two decades later, he laced up his running shoes again, and hasn’t looked back.
Kinesiologists say Whitlock is living proof that exercise is akin to a fountain of youth.
“We know that, if we exercise, that your bones are healthier, your blood is healthier, your lungs, your heart, your skin,” sports physiologist Greg Well told CTV News. “Even your brain is improved.”
Hundreds of runners competed in Sunday’s Waterloo Marathon.
Race director Tony Lea said hearing their stories is what makes the marathon special.
“Every one of these runners has a story all of their own,” he said. “Many of them had personal bests today and achieved stuff and they’re really excited.”
Some shared the excitement of having completed their first race, while more experienced runners tried to beat their personal bests.
Meanwhile, blind runner Rhonda Marie-Avery used the marathon as a way of sending a message.
“I run because I think people with disabilities aren’t really seen to be active,” she said.
As for Whitlock, he says he’s now focused on recovery, so that he can run again.
With reports from CTV’s Peter Akman and CTV Kitchener