Whitlock, who ran as a teenager and took up the sport again in his 40s, first became the oldest person to run a marathon in less than 3 hours in 2000 at age 69 with a time of 2:52:47. Since then, he has continued to extend this record, most recently to age 74 with a time of 2:58:40. His best time since turning 70 was 2:54:48 at age 73, the world record for men 70 to 74. According to an article in The New York Times, if age-graded, this time is equivalent to a 20-year-old running 2:03.57 and to 2010 was the fastest marathon ever run. For an explanation of age-graded tables, see masters athletics#Age-graded tables. As of 2013, he is still the only person over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours.
Whitlock was born in a suburb of London, England, and later moved to Canada to pursue an engineering career following graduation from Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, England. He now resides in Milton, Ontario. While at school and university in England, he was a serious junior runner, primarily at cross country but also at track and road relays. He was the winner of the Ranelagh Harriers and South London Harriers inter schools cross country races in consecutive years, 1948 and 1949. He was the University of London champion at cross country and 3 miles on the track. He stopped running after arriving in Canada and did not start running again until he was 41, concentrating on middle-distance running, and after several years recorded best times of 1:59.9 for 800 metres and 4:02.5 for 1500 metres. Although not concentrating on the marathon, he ran 2:31:23 at age 48. In his 60s after retiring he started to concentrate on road racing and latterly the objective of becoming the first man over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours. After an initial attempt at age 70, injury prevented another attempt until age 72 when in 2003 he completed the marathon 2:59:10. In the following year, he lowered the record to 2:54:49 and in 2005 ran 2:58:40 at age 74, to date (2013) the oldest man to run under three hours for a marathon.
In 2006 he set the world record for the 75 to 79 age group with a time of 3:08:35 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and in the Rotterdam Marathon on April 15, 2007, Whitlock lowered that mark to 3:04:54 on a day when the marathon was stopped after three and a half hours because of high temperature.
On September 26, 2010, Whitlock ran the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in 1:34:23.4.
After turning 80, Whitlock improved the marathon world record for his age category by almost 15 minutes to 3:25:43 at the 2011 Rotterdam Marathon on April 10, 2011. He then further improved on his age category world record at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 16, 2011, lowering the record to 3:15:54.
At age 81, on Sunday, September 16, 2012, wearing bib number 1, Whitlock broke the Canadian and unofficial world half-marathon record at his hometown inaugural race, the Milton Half-Marathon, running 1:38:59. In 2013, he lowered the record to 1:38:11 on the same course.
Whitlock also competes on the track, where as of 2012 he holds 15 world age group records ranging in distance from 1500 metres to 10,000 m and age groups 65+, 70+, 75+ and 80+, as well as the three age group marathon records 70+, 75+ and 80+.
World age group records
Outdoor – track
|1500 m||Men 80–84||5:48.93|
|3000 m||Men 75–79||11:10.43|
|3000 m||Men 80–84||12:13.56|
|5000 m||Men 75–79||19:07.02|
|5000 m||Men 80–84||20:58.12|
|10000 m||Men 70–74||38:04.13|
|10000 m||Men 75-79||39:25.16|
|10000 m||Men 80-84||42:39.95|
Indoor – track
|1500 m||Men 75-79||5:20.04|
|1500 m||Men 80-84||5:48.47|
|3000 m||Men 65-69||10:11.60|
|3000 m||Men 70-74||10:52.40|
|3000 m||Men 75-79||11:17.21|
|3000 m||Men 80-84||12:00.88|
Outdoor – road
In addition to the records above recognised by World Masters Athletics, the Association of Road Race Statisticians keeps single and group age road records. Whitlock's age group records recognized by ARRS follow.
Outdoor – road
|10 Mile||Men 65-69||1:00:01|
|10 Mile||Men 70-74||1:02:25|
|Half Marathon||Men 70-74||1:22:23|
|Half Marathon||Men 75-79||1:29:26|
|Half Marathon||Men 80-84||1:38:59|
- Bruce Grierson, The Incredible Flying Nonagenarian, The New York Times, November 28, 2010
- STWM News September 25, 2006
- Sportstats Event Timing and Results
- Official Results at Rotterdam Marathon site
- WMA->World Masters Athletics<-WMA
- Canadian Running Oct 7, 2009
||This article's use of external links may not follow Wikipedia's policies or guidelines. (April 2014)|
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