ED Whitlock ran October’s Toronto marathon in three hours 56 minutes. Should any regular runners among you think that isn’t a time to get excited about, let me point out that Mr Whitlock was 85 years old at the time.
A decade earlier, he broke the three-hour barrier, and remains the only person in their 70s to have run a marathon in less than three hours.
Nature has blessed him with some in-built advantages. Physiological tests found that his capacity to take in and use oxygen was the same as that of a fit 20-year-old. And his muscles have preserved the strength and suppleness of a far younger man.
But his personal explanation for his athletic prowess should offer encouragement for all retired blokes, whatever they are resolved to attempt in 2017.
“I believe people can do far more then they think they can,” he told The New York Times.
“You have to be idiot enough to try it.”