As both of my faithful readers know, there are three things I don't like - excuses, self-imposed limits, and house music. So you can imagine how much I admire Ed Whitlock. Because of a lack of places to train, Mr. Whitlock has been known to do three hour runs on a 1/3 mile paved path in a cemetary, at age 70 he became the oldest person ever to run a sub-3 hour marathon, and (since he has shown no signs of deafness or drug use) I assume he's not a fan of house music. This past weekend at the Rotterdam Marathon he set the world record by running 3:25:40 at age 80!
Like many other masters athletes who excel in their 60s, 70s and 80s - Ginette Bedard, Rae Baymiller, and Sid Howard come to mind - Mr. Whitlock was not a competitive runner as a younger man, and is now setting records. I'm not suggesting that anyone can match the incredible times that Whitlock has put up, but I find it both fascinating and encouraging when I see athletes excelling despite their age or other perceived limitations. While I'm always happy with race victories, some of my proudest moments as a coach are when our athletes exceed their goals, even if it doesn't result in a win. In the words of the great scholar George Clinton, "free your mind and your ass will follow."
Congratulations to Mr. Whitlock and all of you who are out there working hard and doing your best.