Run like Ed

Just about every time I run through a cemetery, I think of Ed Whitlock, and wish I could channel his outrageous energy and drive.
Ed is 78 years old, but runs faster than most people half his age. 

Ed Whitlock runs like the wind through his neighborhood cemetery.

Six years ago, he ran a marathon in 2:54, setting a world record for runners over 70.

He does all of his training in a cemetery a block from his home in Milton, Ontario. He runs a paved loop in the cemetery — often for up to three hours at a time.  In the 10 weeks leading up to one marathon, he did 48 three-hour runs. What a work horse!

Why cemeteries? Here is what he told one interviewer: 

“There are no traffic problems. The drivers here are a docile lot. It’s largely shaded in the summer. And I’m never more than 800 meters from home if any problem occurs.”

I thought of Ed again today as I did a lunchtime run at Crown Hill Cemetery, one of the oldest and biggest public cemeteries in the U.S.

This cemetery is not just big and old. It also has the most fearsome hill in Marion County.

I’ve written about this killer hill several times. (See here and  here and here).

No matter how many times I return to Crown Hill and try to conquer the hill, it never gets any easier.

Today, I managed just three repeats of the hill climb, running them in a gasping 1:46, 1:47 and 1:50. (Last time I did hill repeats here, in June, I did six repeats, between 1:48 and 1:55.)

But I didn’t just throw myself at this hill. First, I ran two wide loops around the cemetery on mostly flat ground, which took me about 28 minutes.

Then I thought: “What Would Ed Whitlock Do?”

He would jump in and do what needed to be done, that’s for sure. Ed Whitlock “may be the world’s best athlete for his age,” the New York Times wrote a few years ago.

So without further ado, I began climbing and climbing.

“Mother of God,” I gasped, as I got to the top for the third time, looking at the downtown skyline. “I can’t go up this hill again.”

I’m sure Ed would have beat me to the top each time, and run a few extras, just to prove he could out-do a “kid.”

When I grow up, I want to be as good as Ed.

But today, just don’t make me run this hill again.

Here is the view of downtown Indy from the top of Crown Hill Cemetery. Usually, I'm gasping too hard to enjoy the sight.


3 Responses to “Run like Ed”

  1. David Krahulik Says:

    Is there ever any issue with interfering with burials, etc., when running through the cemetery? Recommended hours? Where do you park? Or, do you run to the cemetery?

    • I’ve never had a problem. In fact, Crown Hill management encourages running, hiking, picnics and occasional races there. It’s a very progressive, welcoming view, in my opinion. If I see a service or burial, I avoid that area out of respect, but no one has ever said anything to me. I usually run there at lunchtime. I believe the gates close at 8 p.m. in warm months and 6 p.m. in the cold months. I park anywhere (usually just on the side of the road in a random area, half on the grass), and have never had a problem. BTW, are you running the Knobstone Trail Mini next weekend? It’s similar to the Run With Foxes race we did in May.

  2. David Krahulik Says:

    I want to do the run but my 10 year old has a football game the morning of the 24th so I most likely will not go to Knobstone.

    Thanks for the Crown Hill info – I would want to be burried in a Cemetery that promotes “living”. (I actually want to have all needed parts and organs used as best as possible and then be cremated.)

    David K

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