Ed Whitlock

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Ed Whitlock
Ed Whitlock, September 2012.PNG
At the Milton Half-Marathon 2012
Personal information
Birth name Edward Whitlock
Nationality Canadian
Born (1931-03-06) 6 March 1931 (age 85)
London, England
Residence Milton, Ontario, Canada
Occupation Engineer, Runner
Years active 1948–present
Height 5 ft 7 in (170 cm)
Weight 112 lb (51 kg)
Spouse(s) Brenda
Sport Track and Field
Event(s) 800 m, 1500 m, 3000 m, 5000 m, 10,000 m, Half marathon, Marathon
University team University of London
Club Ranelagh Harriers
Coached by None

Ed Whitlock (born March 6, 1931) is an English-born Canadian long-distance runner, and the first person over 70 years old to run a marathon in less than three hours with a time of 2:59:10 in 2003.

Whitlock, who ran as a teenager and took up the sport again in his forties, first became the oldest person to run a marathon in less than 3 hours in 2000, at the age of 69, with a time of 2:52:47. Since then, he has continued to extend this record, most recently when he ran a time of 2:58:40 at the age of 74. His best time since turning 70 was 2:54:48 when he was 73, a 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 this time would have been the fastest marathon ever run.[1] For an explanation of age-graded tables, see masters athletics. As of 2016, he is still the only person over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours.[2] Ed is at age 85 the oldest person to run a marathon in less than four hours at 3 hours, 56 minutes 34 seconds at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October, 2016

Early Life[edit]

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.

Return to Running[edit]

Whitlock 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.

He started running marathons accidentally when his youngest son who was into running at the time in school determined he was going to run a marathon after running every day for over a year without a break. He son was only 14 at the time. Whitlock tried to deter his son, but in the end reluctantly ran the race with him. Although not concentrating on the marathon, he ran 2:31:23 at age 48.[3]

In his sixties 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,[4] 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.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] 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+, 80+ and 85+, as well as the three age group marathon records 70+, 75+ and 80+.[9]

In 2016, Whitlock was inducted into the Milton Sports Hall of Fame as nominee in the inaugural induction class.[10]

On October 16, 2016, Whitlock, aged 85, ran the Toronto Marathon in 3:56:38, setting a new world record.[11]

World age group records set by Ed Whitlock[edit]


The Milton, Ont., native holds 36 world age class records on the road and track.[13]

Outdoor – track
Age group world record times
Distance Men 65–69 Men 70–74 Men 75–79 Men 80–84 Men 85–89
1500 m 5:48.93 6:38.23
Mile 5:41.80 7:18.55(†)
3000 m[15] 11:10.43 12:13.56
5000 m[16] 18:33.38* 19:07.02 20:58.12 24:03.99[17]
10000 m[18] 38:04.13 39:25.16 42:39.95 51:07.53
† 2016 times not (yet?) ratified as world records
* record subsequently beaten by Ron Robertson NZ
Indoor – track
Age group world record times
Distance Men 65–69 Men 70–74 Men 75–79 Men 80–84 Men 85–89
1500 m 5:12.22* 5:20.04 5:48.47 6:38.87
3000 m[19] 10:11.6* 10:52.40 11:17.21 12:00.88 13:41.96
* Records subsequently beaten by others
Outdoor – road
Age group world record times
Distance Men 70–74 Men 75–79 Men 80–84 Men 85–89
Marathon 2:54:48 3:04:54 3:15:54 3:56:38(†)

Road records by age group[edit]

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.[20]

Road world records
Best times by Age group
Distance Men 60–64 Men 65–69 Men 70–74 Men 75–79 Men 80–84 Men 85-89
5K[21] 17:23 18:21.2 18:45
8K[22] 28:36 30:44
10K[23] 37:33 40:10 42:58
15K[24] 55:04 58:19 1:00:19 1:07:05 1:15:10
10 Mile[25] 1:00:11 1:02:19
Half Marathon[26] 1:22:23 1:29:26 1:38:59[27] 1:50:47[28]
30k[29] 1:57:07 1:57:40 2:00:56
Marathon[30] 2:54:48 3:04:54 3:15:54 3:56:38

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

  • [14], "Michael McGowan" (film director), 2001 The prime of the ancient marathoner
  • Mike Tymn,Running Times, April 2004, Age Group Ace
  • RunnersWeb, September 27, 2004, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
  • [15], "Amby Burfoot", 2005, Runners World interview
  • [16], "Marc Bloom", New York Times, February 2005, At73, Marathoner runs as if he has stopped the clock
  • [17], "Lawrence Hill", Walrus magazine, April 2005, Marathon man
  • [18], Doug Kurtis, July 2006, M75 records
  • [19], "Scott Douglas", Running Times, March 2010,Ed Whitlock and the age of simplicity
  • [20], "Alan Brookes", Canadian Running, March 2011 Eightieth Birthday
  • [21], "Jill Barker", Montreal Gazette, May 4, 2011 Ed Whitlock, running ahead of his peers
  • [22], Bruce Grierson, December 2011. Running out of time.
  • [23], Steve LeBlanc, October 2011. M80 marathon world record
  • [24], Brett Larner, Oct 2013. Hosaka & Whitlock
  • [25], Paul Gains, Oct 2013, swtm preview
  • [26], Sep 2006, M75 world record
  • [27], Mar 2013, Roger Robinson, New research on older runners
  • [28], Ben Kaplan, National Post, June 2011, Ed Whitlock's still going at 80
  • [29], Paul Gains, Athletics Illustrated, Sept 2012, Ed Whitlock a reluctant hero
  • [30], STWM, Apr 2011, Rotterdam marathon, M80 world record
  • [31]. STWM, Nov 2005. Runner's World Hero