The sad news broke yesterday that legendary runner Ed Whitlock died at the age of 86. Most didn’t know that he was suffering from prostate cancer because from what we’ve seen that illness was kept private. Unfortunately we never got the chance to sit down with the inspirational Mr. Whitlock, but figured we’d share a couple of links about him as the tributes come pouring in over social media.
Alan Brookes, race director of the Toronto Waterfront Marathon
Ed and I went many miles together. One year we went to a Runner’s World presentation together in New York City. Ed was receiving an award. I remember Ed got up to speak—all 110 pounds of him—and in his typical modest style he said, “I don’t really know what to say. I don’t have a coach. I don’t have a manger or an agent. I don’t have any commercial endorsements. I don’t really have a training program. I just like to go out to run.”
In 2003, at 72, Whitlock became the first person 70 or older to break 3:00 in the marathon, with a 2:59:10 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. A year later, at 73, he lowered that 70+ best to 2:54:49. Over the ensuing years, Whitlock set age-group marks in the 70+, 75+, 80+, and 85+ age groups at distances from 1500 meters up through the marathon. Just last October, at 85, he ran 3:56:33 at the Toronto Marathon, becoming the first in his age group to break 4:00 and taking 28 minutes off the previous 85+ record.