After Shawn and I finished racing the 3000 metres on Sunday, we ran a few laps to cool down, said good-bye to our buddy who came to watch us, and then ran for about 10 minutes for a final cool-down. By the time we finished, hardly anyone was left at the track. It was just us, the event organizer and Ed Whitlock.
“Shawn, we have to have our picture taken with him. We may never have another opportunity like this.” Needless to say, there was no argument.
Ed Whitlock lives in a town just 10 miles north of us. At 79 years old, he spends 3 hours a day running, or “plodding” as he says, through one of Milton’s cemeteries. I wish I could plod as well as Ed, whose current half-marathon time – 1:37 – is the same as mine.
On the way to York University, I joked with Shawn about how I was going to pick my spring marathon. “It’s easy,” I said. “I’ll just find out which one Ed is doing and I’ll run with him. Everyone will be cheering him on. There’s no way I’ll want to stop if I’m next to him.” But I was quickly reminded that Ed’s marathon days might be over. “I know,” I added, “but he is turning 80 in March and he might have a calling to break another world record.”
After grabbing my camera, we approached Ed and introduced ourselves. Well, it wasn’t quite that rushed. We congratulated him on a strong race and, when he asked about my race, my mouth started running.
“I have to tell you that I was so nervous about this event. This is my first Masters meet and I had no idea what to expect in terms of time. Then, I saw that you were running with us and, somehow…. those nerves became excitement. I am so excited to be here; it is such an honour to run with you.” I looked at him, remembered that he is a bit older than my dad and wondered if I spoke too fast or too quietly. Then, I looked at Shawn, my eyes pleading, “Stop me if I sound like an idiot.”
Ed told us that he is planning a trip to Kelowna, B.C. for the nationals and a longer distance, probably a half-marathon after that. Somewhere in the conversation, we were reminded that he turns 80 in March, which explains his desire to run the shorter half-marathon distance. Shawn told him that we actually do live quite close to each other – to me, it’s always seemed odd that neither of us has seen him in a local race – and we simply ran out of things to say.
Before Ed left, we asked if we could take a picture of us. Here are Shawn and Ed:
And, here is Ed with me.
It really was delight to meet such a wonderful man and it was an honour to have the opportunity to run with him. When I got home, Hubby asked what his running is like.
“I don’t know,” I replied, “I was ahead of him the whole time.” And, thank goodness. But, if I did finish behind him, I could have lived with that. After all, we’re talking about finishing behind Ed Whitlock.