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Q&A with 85-year-old Ed Whitlock

Running legend Ed Whitlock, 85, answers reader questions including mental strategies he uses during races, his best method of rehab and more.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
Photo: Canada Running Series.

Last week, Canadian Running welcomed questions from readers for 85-year-old Ed Whitlock, who in late 2016 ran a sub-4:00 marathon in Toronto. The Milton, Ont. resident is one of the more popular names in the running world for his numerous age group world records. Among them is being the only man over 70 to have broken 3:00 for 42K.

Whitlock’s training regime is notable as he runs loops in Evergreen Cemetery just down the street from his southern Ontario home. His long runs reach upwards of three hours and the cemetery loop is small. He does this because the location is sheltered from the wind, it’s plowed in the winter and he doesn’t have to navigate the back roads of Milton.

See select questions from CR readers below with Whitlock’s responses. The questions were pulled from a Facebook post along with one from Canadian Running staff.

RELATED: POLL: What’s the better feat? 85-year-old Ed Whitlock vs. 105-year-old cyclist.

“What mental strategies do you use during the hard points of a race?”

Ed Whitlock: “Throughout any race I am always analyzing whether I am running at the appropriate pace and making adjustments accordingly. I do make mistakes sometimes and then try to rectify them before it’s too late. Towards the end of a race I just try to maintain my momentum and try to remain positive, counting off the the distance markers remaining to the finish.”

“What is the most important factor in protecting your body when running long distances, especially as you age?”

“I’m not a medical expert and I think you would get a variety of answers from purported experts. I purposely try to keep my training pace slow to minimize impact. It has seemed to work for me but I am not sure if it’s really a factor.”

“When did you realize you had a gift (for running)?”

“When I won my school’s cross-country championship at 14 competing against students up to four years older than me.”

“What did you think about when running close to four hours (in Toronto during the marathon)?”

“As in my answer to question one, the increasing length of time compared with a few years ago is getting to be a drag.”

Ed Whitlock
Photo: Matt Stetson

“What’s been your best method of rehab for coming back from injury?”

“The only thing that has worked for me in the past is to take a rest.”

“What is the next goal you would like to accomplish?”

“I am currently having problems with a sore neck and shoulder which is preventing me from running and my only current objective is to recover from that.”

“What’s your most memorable vacation or trip?”

“Visiting Arizona/New Mexico and viewing new and old mining sites and the general landscape.”

“Who cuts your hair?”

“Susan MacDonald of Hair Associates, Milton.”

There were a number of other reader questions that Canadian Running covered in our feature on Whitlock, as seen in the January/February 2017 issue of the magazine. The piece can be found online here. There you can find details about Whitlock’s diet, training, the notable cemetery where he trains and much more.

RELATED: 2016 Golden Shoe Awards: Runner of the Year – The Greatest, Ed Whitlock.