Trishul Cherns has firmly staked his place in the history of Canadian ultrarunning. But at age 66, the endurance athlete has shown with his recent ascents to the podium that he has no desire to dwell on past successes—nor should other runners who have entered their senior years. The Hamilton native, who lives in Kingston, NY, with his wife and crew leader, Käären Schilke-Cherns, has recently racked up no fewer than three podium finishes at ultras around the US, including second overall at the 144-hour 3 Days at the Fair road race in Augusta, NJ, in early May, covering 677.53 km; third overall at the 33-hour Centurion Ultra Trail Event–Blue Buckle in Connecticut in June, completing 183,304 km; and earlier this month, Cherns won the 48-hour event at the Notchview Ultra in Windsor, Mass., covering 229,332 km on trails.
Cherns is best known as a multi-day racer, and throughout his career, he has represented Canada in many international competitions. He has broken more than 110 Canadian ultrarunning records and has racked up tens of thousands of kilometers in events as short as 50K and as long as 1,600 km on roads, trails and the track. Altogether he has accumulated more than 300 ultra finishes during his career.
Cherns says beyond being personal accomplishments, these latest results speak assertively to the strength and potential of runners over the age of 65.
Canada’s Trishul Cherns completes his 300th ultra
“Age is not a limit,” Cherns tells canadian running. “I still feel 30 inside, and I’m beating guys that are 20, 30, 40 years younger than me. So I think the message is, no matter what your age is, keep going and keep doing what you’re doing.”
Although age does offer runners the benefit of experience, running success in older life doesn’t just happen. Cherns says choosing healthy foods and cultivating a positive mental attitude have been crucial to his continuing to be a strong competitor.
“My success definitely comes from my diet,” he says. “I’m a vegan, and that’s an anti-inflammatory diet. I’m trying to prevent inflammation in my body because these are stressful (running) events, so I’m trying to make it as easy as possible.”
He says meditation and approaching running as a spiritual practice have been key to maintaining a positive mindset during challenging races.
“Meditation and spirituality give me fortitude. Inner peace and stillness give me strength. I can do things that others can’t because of my inner fortitude, which supports my being very, very mentally strong and very, very emotionally strong,” says Cherns, who was a student of the late endurance athlete and spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy.
Another key ingredient to continued success and joy in running is to continue to look ahead, says Cherns, and always to set one’s sights high. “My ideas are always self-transcending. I want to be prolific. I want to keep pushing my goals so that running is all a new adventure for me. I’ve run more than 300 ultras—in the next five years I’d like to bring that to 500. Ultimately, can I do 1,000 ultra marathons in my lifetime? You know, that’d be cool,” he says.
“I’m trying to go for the stars. There’s no reason why you can’t go for the stars, no matter what age you are.”