The 85 year old athlete who is confounding scientists after running a sub four hour marathon

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Scientists believe that an 85 year old man with the lungs of someone 60 years his junior could hold secrets to living a healthy lifestyle into old age. Incredible Ed Whitlock ran a marathon in less than four hours in October, breaking the existing record for his age group by an astonishing 40 minutes.

When he was 75, Mr Whitlock, who is from London, ran a marathon in less than three hours, in another record breaking time. Researchers are now keen to find out whether the human race as a whole could have anything to learn from Mr Whitlock and his genetic make up.

Experts believe that the key to his seemingly superhuman efforts could lie in “an astonishing genetic inheritance”. Michael Joyner, who is a researcher at the Mayo Clinic, said that he had an ageing process which was progressing at a much slower rate to the vast majority of his age group.

Fit as a 20 year old

Tests carried out on his lungs have shown they are as fit as an active 20-something. Meanwhile his lungs have a much greater capacity to use oxygen than anyone else of his age ever recorded.

Astonishingly, Mr Whitlock only took up competitive running in his 40s. In a previous interview, he has said that people can do much more than they think they are capable of, adding: “You have to be idiot enough to try it.”

However, despite his enduring love of the sport, Mr Whitlock, who now lives in Canada, feels that he may not be running in his 90s. He joked that he may be hit by a bus. His feats so far have led medics and scientists to reconsider what the human body could be capable of into older age. He may also prove to be an inspiration to all those, young and old, who are making a New Year’s resolution to get fitter and healthier in 2017.

 

 

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