I knew something was different about Ed Brinkley the first time I saw him.
The week before this year's Cooper River Bridge Run the 66-year-old showed up for a speed workout at the Mount Pleasant Municipal Center Track. The group was doing an "easy," pre-Bridge Run session - six 400s in around 80 to 85 seconds, which equals a mile pace of 5:20 to 5:40, with a fairly long recovery.
Ed stayed right in the pack. Who was this guy?
Well, I've been following his times ever since and there's no doubt he's a runner to watch. Other older runners are taking note.
"There's nobody in this area who can come close to him," says 76-year-old William Boulter, a regular on the road race and triathlon scene.
Since Brinkley moved here from Virginia Beach, Va., in August 2005, he has beaten the previous South Carolina 65-69 age group record for the 5K, which was 20:28, TWICE. He ran a 19:56 at the Run for the Angels in Charleston and 19:53 at the Rice Run in Walterboro.
At Saturday's Isle of Palms Connector Run and Walk for the Child, he was gunning for the 10K state age group record of 40:35, but thanks largely to a 22-mph headwind for the first three miles of the race, he finished in 41:51. To put that time in perspective, however, he finished 27th out of 479 finishers.
And at the Bridge Run, he won his age group and placed in the top 400 with a time of 41:40.
When asked Monday what his goals were in the coming year, his answer was quick - "to stay healthy." But after that, it was to break state age group records in the 8K (33:03), 10K (40:35), 10-mile (1:09:59) and half marathon (1:34:58).
Brinkley, who has beenracing since 1978, is not new to running success. He was a 32-minute 10K runner and a sub-2:40 marathoner in the mid- to late 1980s when he was in his mid- to late 40s. He says he has no secrets for his competitive longevity.
"I'd say it's more talent than training. I was just born with running talent," says Brinkley, who retired as the credit director of Bon Secours hospital in Hampton Roads, Va., in 2005 and moved to Charleston to be closer to his son, Jerome. "I just like to run and compete, but I don't like to compete as much as I used to."
Brinkley also admits to being injured "a lot" over those years. His latest came following the Hell Hole Swamp FestivalGator Run this spring where he not only finished third overall with a time of 41:45 but he also fractured both heels. The injury caused him to take a month off from running entirely.
Brinkley's training consists primarily of a speed workout with two other 60-something runners, John Bradley and Jim Strowd, on Wednesdays and a weekly long run of six to eight miles in the summer and nine to 10 miles in the winter.
"I've noticed in the last few years that when I do nine to 10 miles, I'm so tired the next days I can hardly do anything," said Brinkley, noting that is one of the reasons why he won't be chasing any marathon records - lucky for us!
SATURDAY - 2nd Make-A-Wish Foundation Waves & Wishes 5K. 8 a.m. Folly Beach. $20-$25. For more information: www.sc.wish.org or www.actioncarolina.com or Katrina Taylor, 529-6461.
SATURDAY - 2nd Running the Creek 5K Run and Walk. 8 a.m. Goose Creek Municipal Center, 519 North Goose Creek Boulevard, Goose Creek. $20. Info: www.goosecreekrotary.org/
SATURDAY - 3rd Tour de Round O Benefit Ride. 8 a.m. $35. Bethlehem Baptist Church, Round O (in Colleton County. A 40-mile benefit bicycle ride for Teyonnia Lambert, who underwent heart transplant surgery on Jan. 28 and has to take 11 different medications. Info: www.active.com.
The 14th annual Isle of Palms Connector Run and Walk for the Child was held Saturday. 479 participated in the 10k and 351 in the 5k. See www.rmssports.com for complete results.
10K OVERALL: Male - Jay Upchurch 33:49, Michael Bunting 35:21, Ryan Thompson 35:37. Female - Marie Domin 39:56, Rives Poe 40:19, Jenny McDonagh 42:57. MASTERS: Male - David Quick 36:13. Female - Sharryn Whitmore 44:49. GRAND MASTERS: Male - Rick Edwards 37:21. Cathy Wirz 55:36. AGE GROUPS (top male and female only): 13-17 - Singleton Daniel 39:05. Megan Duncan 46:47. 18-21 - Stoddard Justin 38:44. Elizabeth Chapman 49:00. 22-25 - Justin Braune 37:59. Lillian Ciany 48:53. 26-29 - Matthew Kutilek 37:54. Jill Hawley 45:50. 30-34 - Kevin Mosteller 35:52. Meghan Doherty 43:46. 35-39 - Jody Mcauley 39:38. Laura Boselowitz 43:46. 40-44 - Tracy Schooler 38:09. Marie Sauer 48:13. 45-49 - Chris Handal 40:07. Dell Toomer 44:50. 50-54 - Jim Fann 41:35. Nancy Metzler 55:59. 55-59 - Everett Chapman 44:06. Janice Fetter 1:01:23. 60-64 - Fred Reinhard 45:39. Dianne Gregory 1:02:28. 65-69 - Ed Brinkley 41:51. No female. 70-74 - No male. Sandra Kremer 1:15:58. 75-99 - William Boulter 54:17. No female.
5K OVERALL: Male - Tom Mather 16:58, Lee Wheless 17:09, Marc Embler 17:46. Female - Kristen Champion 21:14, Chrissy Dinicola 21:52, Meghan Kirwan 22:07. MASTERS: Male - Andy Tedesco 19:28. Female - Judi Olmstead 25:52. GRAND MASTERS: Male - James Kirwan 21:29. Female - Kay Lackey 30:34. AGE GROUPS: 12-under - Felix Hadtstein 20:31. Rhianna Sherlock 22:32. 13-17 - Chuck King 18:57. Makenzy Landay 23:07. 18-21 - Todd Gower 18:37. Catherine Johnson 24:16. 22-25 - Harding Brumby 19:21. Debra Zdankiewicz 22:58. 26-29 - Jason Farr 19:11. Lauren Conoscenti 25:28. 30-34 - Michael Domin 18:33. Tavia Buck 24:06. 35-39 - Kris Saadeh 21:00. Betsy Jessup 23:24. 40-44 - David Coyne 22:08. Marlys Modica 26:31. 45-49 - Cesar Gamez 19:34. Susan Shannon 32:54. 50-54 - David Gertz 21:59. Jeannie Fell 32:16. 55-59 - Jim Edwards 25:03. Carlin Timmons 30:58. 60-64 - Eric Jones 25:57. Debbie Jones 32:42. 65-69 -Floyd Riley 24:12. No female. 70-74 - Larry Gradick 28:00. No female. 75-99 - No male. Garthedon Embler 41:40.