active for life

This is an amazing and inspiring profile from the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging.

It is people like Gerry Fenwick who assure me that 25 years from now I will be healthy, active and vital, enjoying life and all it has to offer.  And, I’ll see you there too!

Here is the story:

Gerry Fenwick: Who is this man?

A recent photograph posted outside the Weight Room showed a lean, snowy-haired man jogging through a cemetery. Above the picture, a challenge: “Who is this man?” Eventually the answer was penciled below: “Ed Whitlock of Milton”. Had somebody seen the recent “Runner’s World” magazine celebrating competitive runners over 40? Were they impressed by the octogenarian and septuagenarian athletes shown? Had Ed Whitlock attended the same school as a CCAA participant, or was a CCAA member related to Mr. Whitlock? The display was completed, and I eventually discovered a “Masters” athlete and CCAA participant who has actually competed against Mr. Whitlock.

Gerry Fenwick joined the CCAA in 1998, and regularly attends the Monday/Wednesday strength training group. His wife, also involved in fitness and active living, joined one of our combined classes. Gerry’s goal was to strengthen his upper body. His legs were already strong since he had run two marathons a year since 1976.

A retired engineer with seven grandchildren, Gerry started running in his mid-forties. He joined a fitness group at the Bob Hayward YMCA. In spring, the instructor moved the class outside and the group learned to run. Gerry discovered a passion for running, progressing quickly from 5km. to 10 km. runs. The instructor encouraged several members of the fitness group, including Gerry, to try a marathon or 26-mile run. The group completed their first marathon in 1976.Gerry told the local paper in 2004, “When someone said I should try a marathon I thought, why not?
Eventually, I ended up at the Boston Marathon, the grandaddy of marathons. It’s something I just really enjoy”.

Since that first marathon when he was 46, Gerry competed in two marathons each year until 1985, including in the Boston Marathon in 1982 and 1983. Between 1985 and 1988 he was unable to compete because of plantar fasciitis, a common injury for runners.

Since 1992, when the Forest City Road Races included a marathon event for the first time, Gerry has been not only an annual competitor, but also a dedicated fundraiser for the Thames Valley Children’s Centre which those races supported, contributing some $400-$500 in pledges each year.

The Forest City Road Races represent a benchmark of fitness for Gerry. He knows that you need a certain level of fitness to run a marathon and wants to prove that he can still compete. In 2004, Gerry clocked 4 hours 24 minutes. His daughter flew in from Edmonton to join him in that race, her first attempt in the marathon event. With a personal best time of 2 hours 59 minutes at the Toronto Marathon some years ago, Gerry is determined to keep his time below 5 hours. Now 76, Gerry continues his training runs for 30-45 minutes every second day, depending on the season.

Sometimes frustrated with his own event time, Gerry greatly admires Ed Whitlock’s training schedule of 2 hours a day. We very much admire your achievements Gerry. Perhaps we should forward your photo to “Runners’ World”!