Ed Whitlock: A Running Inspiration

We explore why the late runner will be fondly remembered by the running community


Earlier this week, 86-year-old marathon runner Ed Whitlock sadly died from complications with prostate cancer. The English-born Canadian set a number of records in his senior running years, and inspired many with his dedication to training and love for racing.

Always optimistic, Ed was a driven competitor with a real passion for what he did. His commitment to running was unquestionable, and he’ll forever be remembered by the running community as one of the sport’s most inspiring characters.


He really could run

Ed gained huge support by fellow runners and fans when he raced in his later years, but people appreciated his talent too. He ran in his earlier days as a teenager, but didn’t take it up again until in his forties. It was his son who then persuaded him to start running marathons, and from there he went on to break a number of long-distance records.

He defied the odds

In 2000, aged 69, he became the oldest person to finish a marathon in less than three hours. His time of 2:52:47 shot him to fame, and his taste for record breaking didn’t stop there. Impressively, he went on to become the oldest person to clock a sub-four-hour marathon. At 85, just five months before his death, he notched an incredible time of 3:56:34.


He didn’t do clobber

A lot of runners are reliant upon fancy gadgets and expensive kit, but not Ed. His focus was always on his running, his training and his body. No extras. The racing flats he wore at the 2016 Toronto Marathon were 15 years old, and he was known to only wear kit that was given to him or that he’d owned for a number of years.

He stuck to his guns

While most coaches advise athletes to mix up their training, Ed followed his own rules. Each week he’d run long distances at what he considered to be a gentle pace. He’d rack up the miles with no cross training, speed sessions or even gym work. He would throw in the odd rest day whenever he needed one but, apart from that, time on his feet was all that mattered.

Written by Josh Puttock | 70 articles | View profile

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