Most people think their body will break down when they reach their 80s, but one man is showing us you can still be in peak athletic form in your ninth decade.
81-year-old Ed Whitlock of Milton, Ontario, set the world record for the half marathon in the 80-84 age group with a time of 1:38:59 on Sunday. Whitlock’s time topped the previous world record for the 80+ age group by 29 seconds.
Whitlock, who was running in his hometown’s inaugural Milton Half-Marathon, now holds 13 world records in long-distance running. He has the record for fastest half marathon by a 63, 65, 68, 69, 70, 72, 73, 76, 78, 79, and 81-year-old.
Achieving the 80-84 world record in the half marathon was a surprise for Whitlock, whose training was derailed by a rib injury sustained late last year.
“I slipped on the ice on my front porch in November and that really cut into my training. I didn’t really get going again until mid-summer,” Whitlock told InsideHalton.com. “Even (Sunday), I thought it might be problematic to set the world record. For most of the race I thought my chances were no better than 50-50.”
Whitlock placed 41st overall out of just over 300 half marathon participants.
What makes Whitlock’s story even more incredible is that he was told by a joint specialist in 2008 that his days of running were over because of arthritis in his knees.
Instead of taking the expert’s advice, Whitlock decided to simply take some time off, and that clearly worked. He told the National Post last year that he envisioned himself running marathons for another 10 years.
Whitlock also gave his five tips for marathon running to the National Post last year: personalize your training, take each run in stride, run alone, don’t over-think stuff, and enjoy your finish line.
Whether those tips work for others is debatable, but one thing is for sure: we know it works for him.
If you are inspired by older athletes, we have an entire group of them you can read about.
Below is a video of Whitlock running in the 2011 World Masters Athletics. His pace is incredible:
Image via Rene Pedersen/YouTubeGoogle+