George and Erlinda Biondic

Meet The Bionic Biondics

We are in awe of this ultrarunning Aurora couple...

They have been married for 42 years and have a combined age of more than 150 years but George and Erlinda Biondic are far from your stereotypical older-aged married couple. More bionic than Biondic, you might say, as George (70) and Erlinda (83) are Canada's power couple in the world of ultrarunning and an example to us all with their support for each other as they set about smashing records and inspiring others.

The couple hail from Aurora, Ontario, and George celebrated his 70th birthday last August by walking 90 kilometres with Erlinda from Yonge Street in Toronto to Barrie City Hall, Ontario. This feat of endurance was described as a "reverse birthday", where the usual recipient of gifts gives to others in need instead, as donations raised were given to the Aurora Food Pantry.

George Biondic's 70th Birthday Walk raised $15,000 and gave us an insight into the philanthropic nature of the couple who had experienced hardship themselves, as Aurora Food Pantry explained: "They also know what it is like to struggle", the pantry said in a statement at the time. "George’s family were refugees from the former Yugoslavia and Erlinda immigrated to Canada from the Philippines. Like so many other refugees and immigrants they came to Canada for a better life.”

George and Erlinda take turns supporting each other as crew members for ultrarunning events. The system works well as George explains: “When you’re an ultrarunner your crew can make or break you, and no one knows me better than her.”

In May last year, Erlinda broke the world record for an octogenarian, competing in the Sussex County Fairground Augusta 6-Day Ultra, by covering 251 miles (403km) in 144 hours. One year later it was George's turn to race the same event, with Erlinda on crew duties. George completed an astounding 341 miles (550km) in six days. Between them, George and Erlinda have set more than 15 Canadian age-group records in ultrarunning events.

Last month, soon after their latest record-setting exploits, George and Erlinda hiked the 800km Camino de Santiago Trail together in 30 days. The pair love to spend time together on long-distance adventures but so far they have never competed together in the same ultra race.

Perhaps that is the next big challenge for Canada's awe-inspiring ultrarunning partners.

Photo courtesy George and Erlinda Biondic

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