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Legendary Marathon Runner Ed Whitlock Dies at 86

Whitlock, who owns numerous world marathon records, lost his battle with prostate cancer a week after celebrating his 86th birthday.

Kyle Cantlon

Legendary British-Canadian master's marathon runner Ed Whitlock passed away at the age of 86 on Monday.

Whitlock's family released a statement revealing that the Milton, Ontario, resident was suffering from prostate cancer.

"The family of Ed Whitlock is saddened to report his passing on March 13, 2017, of prostate cancer at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. His 86th birthday was on March 6th. His wisdom, guidance and strength of character will be greatly missed by his wife Brenda, sons Neil and Clive, and sister Catherine," the statement read, in part.

Whitlock was an accomplished club runner in high school and university but took a lengthy break from competitive running while he pursued an engineering career in Canada. He later re-emerged on the dominant side of the sport as a master's runner, and became the first septuagenarian to run a sub three-hour marathon after he posted a time of 2:59:10 at the 2003 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon at the age of 72.

A year after the historic milestone, once again in Toronto, he improved upon his record with a time of 2:54:49, and would go on to set world masters marathon records for the 75-plus and 80-plus age groups. This past October, Whitlock would set his final world record—running a time of 3:56:38 at age 85.

Aside from his record-setting times, Whitlock was known in the community for his intense training, even as he soared into his mid-80s. As we learned when we met Whitlock last year (in the video above), his training consisted of running laps around Milton's Evergreen Cemetery for hours on end.

In total, Whitlock set around 25 world master's records in distances ranging from 1,500 metres to the 42-kilometre marathon.