JP’s Team is a collection of more than 2,000 runners across North America running to raise awareness and funds in support of services for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. Led by 2014 Canadian Runner of the Year Jean-Paul Bedard, JP’s Team is incredibly diverse in terms of age, experience, and ability. Many members are therefore naturally inspired by one of the most atypical runners we’ve perhaps ever seen, Canadian legend Ed Whitlock.
Ed passed away in March at the age of 86, only a few months after setting a new world record for fastest marathon for the 85-90 age group at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
Members of JP’s Team came together this past weekend to honour Mr. Whitlock with a run around Toronto’s Mount Pleasant Cemetery. Ed famously did all his training runs around a cemetery located near his home in Milton, Ontario, famously remarking, “You know you’re in better shape than everyone around you.” JP’s Team was kind enough to let us share some pictures from the run along with some remembrances of Ed from team members.
“I think running and competing were Ed’s fountain of youth. I was on the sidelines of the 2016 Toronto Waterfront Marathon when he crossed the finish line. There wasn’t a person there that didn’t have goosebumps from seeing that huge smile on his face. There was absolutely no age in that smile–just pure joy.” – Cathy Vandergeest
“He proved that age is just a number and that the only limits we have are self imposed. He showed you don’t need to have the latest gear and fancy gadgets to be a runner. He was humble and did it for the love of the sport. I’m sure we all expected him to be around forever. I think I’m still in shock.” – Melinda Ciffolillo
“When I did my first 5k at over 40, Ed was one of the first people I looked up to. I’m still at the back of the pack, but I still enter races. I’ll never win a race, but I still finish them with my head held high. Ed taught me that just because you are aging means nothing if you have the ability to put your heart into something you believe in.” – Mike Holliday
“To me he was the epitome of running happy! He always had a smile on his face.” – Johanna Lopez
“I saw Ed a few times over the past few years and was always in awe of his physicality first and foremost, but also of the aura that seemed to surround him. He had an air of calm and humility that made you feel like you were in the presence of something special. I’m disappointed that I was always too shy to say anything to him. Running today was my way of letting him know what an inspiration he was to me. I didn’t start running until my forties so it was always encouraging to see him keep going. May he rest in peace and long be remembered.” – Nancy Brooks