October 18, 2011

Nothing but a Number

If you're like me, there have been moments in races when you hear footsteps behind you, then seconds later you see a flash of graying hair as you're passed by someone that could be your grandparent. In fact, at last weekend's Chicago Marathon, to rub salt in the wound when I had to drop back, all of the 4-hour pacers were at least twice my age! Clearly, when it comes to running at least, age seems to be just a number. A look at most age group results shows that it's not always the young guns that are winning races these days. And masters running has become pretty damn competitive.

But there certainly must be a line drawn somewhere, right? Well, that may not be the case as this past Sunday 100-year-old Fauja Singh set the record for the oldest person to complete a marathon. Seriously, this dude has been alive for an entire century and covered 26.2 miles in 8:25:16 at the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. And believe it or not, this wasn't even his first marathon - this was number 8, and he ran his first at age 89! You can see a video of him finishing here.

The Toronto Waterfront Marathon saw another age-related record broken on Sunday by 80-year-old endurance running wonder Ed Whitlock who shattered his previous age group record with a 3:15:54 finish. No, there are no typos...this guy is just old...and crazy fast! Whitlock obviously won his 75+ age group, but he also beat the top finishers in the three younger age groups as well. Also on his list of incredible accomplishments is being the only person 70+ years old to have run a sub-3 hour marathon. Ummm, what!? Seriously, this guy is wicked fast! According to the article, he was actually in Sacramento this past summer for the World Masters Track & Field Championships (where he set records in the 1,500m and 10,000m) - I wish I'd got a chance to meet him!

Pretty incredible stuff, right? I can only hope to be a fraction as active at their age, if I even make it that far!


  1. I'm one of those grey beard guys...and just about the time I think I'm too old for this running stuff...I'm inspired by a story like this.