A Brief Chat with . . .
One could argue that 74-year-old Canadian Ed Whitlock is the greatest
marathoner of all time. At last September's Scotiabank Toronto
Whitlock ran 2:54:49, a performance that scores higher than any other
new age-graded tables of the World Masters Athletics association. (You
find a calculator here <http://www.panix.com/~elflord/wava2.html>
). In 2003, at the same event,
Whitlock had become the first over-70 runner to go sub-3:00 in the
when he ran 2:59:10. He was already the oldest man to have broken 3:00,
after his 2:52:50 in Columbus in 2000, 128 days shy of his 70th
This weekend, Whitlock takes aim on his third-straight sub-3:00 in
He also holds all 70+ world records for track and road events from 5000
meters up. Whitlock, a retired mining engineer who lives in Milton,
is originally from Surbiton, England and was the 1951 London University
three-mile champion with a 14:54.
Runner's World Daily: What do you think is the secret to your success?
Ed Whitlock: I think it's the ability to absorb a fair amount of
my training. And that's probably genetic. I had an uncle who lived to
ripe old age of 107. The mileage I've done in the past few years is
something I built up to gradually. I was very conscious about not
leaps in my training. I was also conscious about keeping the speed
relatively slow. I shuffle along to reduce the impact, rather than
I don't know what the relative importance of these things is, but the
mileage is what has turned me into a marathoner. I used to be a middle
RWD: Is it true that you run three hours a day?
EW: That's been my basic routine the last several years. I go over to
Evergreen Cemetery a few blocks from here and run loops around
one-third miles, or one-fourth miles--for about three hours. But one of
quirks is that I don't count the loops or try to record my times for
loops. I don't really know how far or fast I've gone, though it's
around nine minutes per mile [which means his basic workout is a
every day]. At the end, I'm tired but not exhausted. I'm always
that I'm going to have to go out and do the same thing the next day. I
say that this routine is a panacea. I can't guarantee that it would
anyone else. But it seems to work for me.
RWD: And you do it day after day?
EW: I generally do it seven days a week when I'm in good training. I
don't do it 365 days a year or anything like that. But I sometimes do
to 21 days in a row. I just completed three weeks like that to get
the Toronto Marathon again. But the last two days, I've taken off
I've got a painful big toe, and I want to get rid of the pain before I
to the marathon.
RWD: How do you stay motivated?
EW: I'm motivated to run good times in the marathon. It's certainly not
I get a runner's high from my workouts. They're actually quite a bit of
drudge. Almost as soon as I get started on a run, I'm looking forward
when it will be over. I guess we all choose our own poison. I couldn't
afford to waste time like this if I weren't retired from full-time
workouts take a fair slice out of my days.