85-Year-Old Runner Smashes World Record For Marathon In Age Group

Runners at Sunday’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon were probably stunned to see an 85-year-old passing them by. Marathoner Ed Whitlock of Milton, Ontario smashed the previous world record for a marathon in the 85-to-89 age group by an incredible margin.

The previous record was over four hours and 30 minutes, but Whitlock managed to complete the grueling 26.2 mile race in less than four hours. His time of 3:56:33 beat the previous record of 4:34:55, set in 2004.

Though he told Canadian Running that he felt he started the race off too fast and wasn’t feeling great at around the 15-mile mark, he trudged on and was all smiles as he crossed the finish line ahead of many much younger runners. 

Whitlock, who grew up in England, has been running most of his life, though he stopped racing when he moved to Canada in his 20s. But in his 40s, he took up competitive running again and has been at it ever since. Whitlock said in a 2010 interview with Runners World that for him it’s about racing, rather than running for his health. 

But judging by his stamina, we’d guess he’s faring pretty well in that department too. As for his secret, Whitlock has said he avoids doctors and that genetics might be on his side, too. His uncle lived to 108 and was Britain’s oldest man at the time of his death. Oh ― and he interestingly says he does most of his running around a local cemetery. 

You’re an inspiration, Ed! You are just one more of the many inspiring seniors that have challenged the way we view aging. 

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