Last year Gene Dykes ran a sub-3 marathon (2 hours 54 minutes and 23 second to be exact). He was 70 years old and broke the age group (70 – 74) record held by the great Ed Whitlock (2.54:48) when Ed was at a young age of 73.
I said that tongue-in-cheek not because Dykes’ accomplishment wasn’t remarkable (I consider any sub-3 marathoner as elite runner, and Dykes is now the world record holder) but because Whitlock also holds the world records for age groups 75 (3.04:53), 80 (3.15:53), and 85 (3.56:38).
In 2006, I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It was there I saw Ed Whitlock. Or more specifically the back of him when he passed me. I had no idea who he was. Only that a gray haired runner, to my senior, running at a pace I could only admire.
Later on I learned it was Ed Whitlock who at age of 75 completed that marathon in 3.08:34. The encounter left a indelible impression on me. You see. All along I knew there would come a time that I won’t be able to run anymore. Ed Whitlock, however, inspired me to run as long as I am able.
Surely I look forward to hear Gene Dykes making news and breaking records. But Ed Whitlock is still the master runner in my book.
p.s. I finished the Toronto marathon in 3.44:38.