Mind & Body



95-Year-Old Legend Plans to Take Down Two Sprinting World Records Next Month

Story from




Ben Kaplan

This summer, Earl Fee is setting out to break world records at 400 and 800 metres. He’s had injury setbacks and training snafus but nevertheless, the runner plans to push ahead.
Earl is 95 years old.
“You have to be relaxed when you’re sprinting, if you tense up, you slow down,” said the owner of more world records than any other living runner, author of The Complete Guide to Running, How to Be a Champion from 9 to 90 and Earl Fee is Running, and currently typing out a new book today.
“You need humility if you want to be great. That, plus a good sense of humour keeps you young.”
Fee has been a longtime friend of iRun and his personality mixed with longevity mixed with extraordinary results makes him a leading light in our sport. His plainspoken wisdom and everyday work habits expressed joyfully makes him someone worth listening to, whether or not you have big race goals. He had a hernia operation and fell recently at the track, but remains committed to racing. He enjoys workouts, his friends and his community and plans a busy summer of competition.
“Things don’t always go smoothly when you get older and you lose endurance and a little bit of speed, but I can certainly keep running,” says Fee, who claims exercise, positivity and diet are the secrets to long lasting good health. “Racing feels like freedom—at any age." 
Karla Del Grande has been named Ontario’s Athletic Masters Female Athlete of the Year an astonishing twelve times and she’s a close friend of Earl’s. She finds inspiration in Earl’s journey.
He gets the best out of himself, which is what everyone should strive to do. He enjoys all the training and competing, taking it seriously, but having fun,” says Del Grande. “He has always included mental as well as physical training, and running training along with strength training with weights and cross-training in the pool, for example, long before others touted that as important. He's been doing all of this for years—as it works.”
Fee is back on the track and touting June as the month to take down the over-95 world sprinting records. Training for the 800 metre events means stretching, walking, longer running and then sprint drills, short 200 metre bursts of speeds. Diet, he says, like his glass of wine with dinner every evening, is essential. 
“I eat a lot of vegetables, not much fruit and a small amount of protein,” says Earl, who likes two ounces of salmon or chicken mixed with his steamed vegetables. “People talk about fasting or extreme diets, but there’s no need. Eating sensibly is the best approach for remaining healthy and strong over time.” 
Fee was great friends with the distance legend Ed Whitlock, pictured below, and told me he once asked Ed what he thought about during his marathon running. “When will this be over?” is what Ed said and Fee seems to share Ed’s down to earth approach to our sport. 
"You have to have fun," he says.
Admittedly, the last few falls have left him somewhat shaken and the 95-year-old is still feeling his way back to fighting form. “I have to get my confidence back,” he told me, “The surgeon said I’m strong, but I’m not quite there yet. Everything has to be gradual, but a few months ago I surprised myself: I didn’t need any help mowing my lawn.” 
Earl Fee is a dancer, sprinter, wine lover and running book author with big summertime goals. The journey, he says, makes him feel young. “If you’re positive with a good sense of humour, it’s good for the mind,” he says. “I think I can live past 100 and have no plans of giving up anything: why would I quit?" 

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