Ed Whitlock, born on March 6, 1931, is the only man to ever break the 3 hour marathon after turning 70 years of age. In 2000, at age 69, Ed ran a time of 2 hr 52 min 50 sec at the Columbus Marathon, certainly indicating that a sub 3 after 70 was possible.
In September, 2002, at 72 Ed finally achieved his goal, running 2 hr 59 min 10 sec in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Later, in 2004 at Rotterdam, he lowered the record to 2 hr 54 min 49 sec.
On July 14th, 2006, Ed was at it again, smashing the 75-79 age group record for 5K by running 18:45, a pace of 6:02 per mile! The previous mark was 20:42 held by Canadian Maurice Tarrant. Below is a list of records held by Whitlock (from www.coolrunning.com)
World Records.Indoor track:
M65 10:11.60 M70 10:52.40 M75 11:28.28
M65 55:04 M70 58:19
How does Ed continue running so well at 75? His training program is simple. He just laces up one of his 10 pairs of running shoes and does laps around a nearby cemetery. He doesn’t count the laps or even know his pace, although he guesses it must be in the 8:30-9:00 min per mile range.
Ed also confesses to not knowing how far he runs, but he does admit this: on most days he runs steadily for at least 2 and often up to 3 hours. No speed work, although he does keep up a frequent racing schedule of 25-30 races per year.
He never stretches and doesn’t follow a particular diet. No massages and no weights. He admits to eating ice cream.
One possible explanation for Ed’s longevity is the 20 year break he took from running to work and raise his family. Perhaps by doing so he saved his joints from significant wear and tear, thus enabling him to achieve these phenomenal performances.
Another factor might be his lack of intense training. Ed is uniquely gifted with enough natural speed that he is able to avoid interval training and still set records.
I’ve always believed it’s not the fastest runner who runs a good marathon. It’s the runner who slows down the least. Ed is a perfect example.