The running community got some sad news with news of the passing of Ed Whitlock today at the age of 86. His family released the following statement:
“The family of Ed Whitlock is saddened to report his passing on March 13, 2017, of prostate cancer at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. His 86th birthday was on March 6th. His wisdom, guidance and strength of character will be greatly missed by his wife Brenda, sons Neil and Clive, and sister Catherine. The family requests privacy at this time.”
I first learned of Ed at the start of my running career back in 2008 when I saw this frail-looking man easily out-running me at race after race. “Who is that guy?” I asked. “That’s Ed,” they told me. His last name wasn’t required. Everyone knew who Ed was around here.
The white-haired, lanky man with the broad smile was Ed Whitlock from Milton, Ontario. And it also turned out he set many a World Record for his running over the years. Articles in Runners World and Canadian Running talked about the quiet man from Milton who trained in the Milton Evergreen Cemetery, running endless loops in solitude.
Multiple World Record Holder
Some of Ed’s recent accomplishments included a sub-3 hour marathon at age 74. Last year, at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Ed ran a 3:56 at age 85, beating me by five minutes on a warm, humid day. He holds 36 different age records for distances ranging from 1500m up to the marathon.
Ed was nothing short of amazing. Running with Ed for a short time around the 36km mark of the marathon in October gave me a good sense of how beloved he was in the running community. Every few seconds someone would call out his name or give him a thumbs up as he passed. He would flash back that big smile and keep on running.
I’ll miss seeing Ed out on course. He was proof that if you stuck with your running that nothing could stop you. Here’s hoping he finds some good running wherever he is now.