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Ed Whitlock, marathon runner – obituary

Ed Whitlock, aged 85, finishing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon 
Ed Whitlock, aged 85, finishing the Toronto Waterfront Marathon  Credit: Todd Fraser/Canada Running Series

Ed Whitlock, who has died aged 86, was a veteran long-distance runner and the first person over 70 to run a marathon in less than three hours.

For many marathon runners simply managing to complete 26.2 miles is their only goal. For elite runners, finishing the distance in under three hours is the supreme ambition – and Whitlock achieved it at the age of 74.

He had run as a teenager but gave up when he started work and then took the sport up again in middle age. But he was not the type to time every practice session and replace his kit every season. He raced in worn 20-year-old shoes and trained by running five-minute loops round the perimeter of his local cemetery in Toronto, for up to four hours at a time, at what he described as a “plod”.

When it came to races, however, he upped the pace. He broke a string of age-division records, from the 17 minutes 23 seconds he set for a five-kilometre...

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