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iRun because I cannot say no to a second slice of chocolate cakeEmily Shandruk , Vancouver, BC

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iRun because I want to qualify for Boston and raise money for charities near and dear to my heartChristine Gracel , Calgary, AB

iRun because it makes me feel good, allows me to spend time with my friends and gives me a feeling of accomplishmentHelen Kolodziejzyk , Calgary, AB

iRun but not enoughMichael Shaw , New Westminister, BC

iRun because I never thought I would be able toGary Morris , Winnipeg, MB

iRun to challenge myself, physically and mentallyKathleen Keenan , Brampton, ON

iRun because people around me inspire mePina Bevilacqua , Caledon, ON

iRun therefore I amDuncan Walsh , Nottingham, UK

iRun because I liveGeorges Schneller , Laval, QC

iRun to be free and enjoy our beautiful countryCheryl Carter , Clearwater , BC

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iRun because it makes me a better person, a better wife, a better mother and a better friendNathalie Joncas-Caissie , St-Antoine, NB

iRun because it makes me feel powerfulCarlene Paquette , Carp, ON

iRun because pecan pie, french fries and beer are chasing meTeresa Sterling , Ottawa , ON

iRun because it’s in meMichael Foley , Stittsville, ON

iRun because it reminds me that I am capable of so much more than I have doneJames Sauve , Ottawa, ON

iRun for meKiza Francis , Ottawa,ON

iRun to prove to myself I canLesley McGougan , Brampton, ON

iRun because all the ladies are chasing my sexy runner’s bodyChris Baker , Etobicoke, ON

iRun because I can and I’m gratefulTerry SanCartier , Gatineau, QC

iRun because when I run I feel most aliveMeghan Lynch , Ottawa, ON

iRun to unleash my inner athleteAdelle Densham , Avonmore, ON

iRun because it cleans up my life, because I drink more water, sleep better and eat healthier foodsRobin McIntyre , Ottawa, ON

iRun because of the peace and strength it brings meMichelle Jordan , Ottawa, ON

iRun because I need it to soothe the soul, keep me in shape and for overall wellbeingBeth Neil , Lombardy, ON

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sonsKeith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are freeCassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn’t Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it’s cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly!Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brainMarie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every kmSteph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun and run, and run, and run, and nobody can stop me Andrei Lucaciu , Ontario

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iRun because it has saved my life John Marshall , Alberta

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iRun to my happy place and some days it’s very Doreen May , Alberta

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iRun see where my feet will take me todayMegan Dolinskas , New York

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iRun because I want to live to be 100! Colette DeJean , Ontario

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iRun because it gives my day a boost of energy Sara Campbell , Nova Scotia

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iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn’t Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it's better than almost everything else Nathan Carey , Ontario

iRun at 50 years old because at 43 I couldn't Peter Cicalo , Ontario

iRun because it is my tonic and my salvation Georgia Ioannou , British Columbia

iRun for relaxation and to motivate my two sons Keith Bradbury , Newfoundland

iRun because endorphins are free Cassandra Chouinard , Ontario

iRun because somebody once told me I couldn't Heidi Abbey-Der , Saskatchewan

iRun because couch potatoes die young Cathy Andrew , Ontario

iRun because it's cheaper than therapy Leah Boulter , Alberta

iRun because I like buying running clothes Pamela Blaikie , Ontario

iRun slowly! Jason Hoffman , Manitoba

iRun because it gives me freedom to relax my brain Marie-Claude Gregoire , Nova Scotia

iRun because I learn more about who I am with every km Steph Mansell , Quebec

iRun because iEat Sherry Maligaspe , British Columbia

iRun for my heart, so it runs for me! Cathy Brzoza , British Columbia

iRun to inspire my children! Wendy Bowen , Manitoba

iRun because it sure beats the bus Robin Robbins , Alberta

iRun for the challenge and to remember to fully live Pascale Synnott , Québec

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iRun because it's a great stress release Brooke McKenzie , Yukon

iRun because i love to Mirella Petriello , Ontario

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iRun to eat Maureen Tritscher , Alberta

iRun to correct years of sedentary living! Mike Scott , Ontario

iRun away from the abyss Charlene Thomas , Ontario

iRun all the livelong day Pierre Saint-Laurent , Québec

iRun to challenge my perceived limitations Cassandra Williams , Ontario

iRun to maintain a strong physical and mental state Tammy Rainville , Ontario

iRun so that I can live longer and stronger Derek MacPhail , Ontario

iRun to feel great Kathryn Rachar , Saskatchewan

iRun because I like to be healthy Melanie Oickle , New Brunswick

iRun to eat more, especially sweet potatoe fries Joanna Skomra , Ontario

iRun for the fresh air and adrenalin Charlyn McGregor , Saskatchewan

iRun for the individual pursuit Robert Pelletier , New Brunswick

iRun to satisfy the irresistible urge Tim Nixon , British Columbia

iRun because I love the sense of accomplishment Amber Moase , Nova Scotia

iRun to challenge my mind, body and soul Sonia Mendes , Ontario

iRun because walking is too slow Barry Knapp , Ontario

News

Ed Whitlock interview, 2008

I was already impressed with Ed Whitlock before I met him in 2008. Then I found out about his training regimen.

By Mark Sutcliffe, reprinted from his book Why I Run

Whitlock doesn’t just defy aging with his world-record, age-group race performances, such as becoming the first person over seventy to run a marathon in less than three hours. He defies logic with his relentless routine.

To train for a marathon, Whitlock runs for three hours a day, seven days a week. And if you’re searching for a metaphor for a man who has cheated aging, hedoes all his running in a cemetery. Round and round the gravestones he runs, as if he’s taunting the gods who have pried younger men from their lives while he’s maintained impossible racing times.

The loop is only a third of a mile, so he can end up running it sixty times or more. He doesn’t bring any water and doesn’t count his laps or measure how far he’s run. He carries only a watch so he knows when it’s time to stop.

“Absolutely, it gets boring,” he says. “But for me, it has some advantages. It’s just 200 yards from home. In the winter, you don’t run against the wind for any length of time, and they clear the road. In the summer, most of it’s in the shade.

“I never claim that’s what everybody ought to do, but it works for me.”

Whitlock was always a fast runner. He was a competitive athlete in high school in England. He gave up running when he moved to Canada, but took it up again in his forties, racing internationally in middle- distance events. He won the World Masters in the 1500 metres for men forty-five and older in 1979.

That year, he also ran a 2:31 marathon, which he now says “wasn’t bad for a middle-distance runner.

“I was forty-eight, so I was getting old,” says Whitlock.

His running dwindled again in his fifties, but he took up long- distance running in his sixties and started knocking down one record after another.

He ran a series of sub-three-hour marathons in his late-sixties and got the idea that he might be able to do it in his seventies.

“That was an objective worth going for,” he says.

 

In 2001, at the age of seventy, he came up just short. At a marathon in London, Ontario, he finished in 3:00:24. It was a world record for anyone over seventy, but it wasn’t fast enough.

After taking a year off because of an injury, he trained for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2003 and planned to try again to break three hours. But six days before the marathon, he was almost knocked out of the race.

“I was walking over to the mall and I was walking along quite briskly and I managed to do a face plant on the sidewalk,” he says. “I found out afterwards that I broke my nose. I had two black eyes and all kinds of abrasions all over my face. It wasn’t a pretty sight.”

Whitlock says many people told him not to run the race, but he did it anyway. He was ahead of his goal pace at 35k, but then it started getting tougher.

“It was a real struggle to get home,” he says. “Fortunately I got in with a little group of runners that helped me along. I stayed with this group, grimly hangingon, until about forty or forty-one. And one guy stayed with me and shepherded me home.”

He finished in a time of 2:59:08, becoming the oldest person ever to break three hours.

“The photographs of me finishing are not pretty. I had all these facial disfigurements for one thing, and I was showing obvious distress apart from that. I was leaning over to one side. I was happy to have got it done, but I was still embarrassed about the way I finished and the way I looked. It was a feeling more of relief than elation.”

The next year was a different story. At seventy-three years old, he ran the Toronto Waterfront again and finished in 2:54:48.

“It was an absolutely marvellous race,” he says. “I wish I knew how you could do that all the time. It would be nice to be able to bottle it. I finished in great shape, I wasn’t in any distress.”

How is Whitlock able to do it? Not even he is sure.

“I suppose a large part is genetics,” he says. “I suspect that’s more than ninety per cent of it. I’m naturally light, I have good mechanics. I don’t pound as much as most people would do.”

And although he’s occasionally sidelined by an injury, he has no intention of stopping.

“Do I have any thoughts that I’ll be running in my nineties? Yeah. I’ll run as long as I can.

“I’d just like to keep running, mainly. That’s what I’d like to do. And set some eighty-year-old records, maybe. They’re well within reach if I could keep running.”

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March 14th, 2017

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