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Articles tagged #Ed Whitlock
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Gene Dykes did it again by setting new US 100-mile and 24-hour M70 records in Pennsylvania

Gene Dykes, aka the #Ultrageezer, is a modest fellow, not given to trumpeting his achievements (especially after discovering that his takedown of Ed Whitlock’s M70 marathon world record at Jacksonville in December 2018 would not be ratified due to the race not being a USATF-sanctioned event).

This could be why we only just learned that last month at the Dawn 2 Dusk 2 Dawn 24-hour ultramarathon in Sharon Hill, Pennsylvania (not far from where he lives), in the pouring rain, Dykes quietly broke the M70 100-mile and 24-hour track records.

Dykes ran 100 miles in 21:06:07 and 111.79 miles (179.98K) over 24 hours. Records are ratified by the American Ultrarunning Association, though Dykes’ latest records have not been updated on the site. The previous records were both held by Edson Sower, 72, of Arizona, at 22:01:34 and 172.80K.

However, if you take a look, you’ll see that Dykes already holds the US age-group records in the 50K, 50-mile, 12-hour, and 100K categories. He set those last year at the same race.

“I am starting a 24-hour race,” Dykes posted on Facebook beforehand. “By 7:03, I will have seen the entire course!”

“I really have mixed feelings about fixed-time races,” Dykes goes on, “but the main feeling is, ‘I should really have my head examined!’ …The main reason I occasionally do them… is that I like to get out of my comfort zone now and then, but this race was WAY out of my comfort zone!”

As so often happens at long races, the weather changed drastically over the course of the day, and never conformed to what was forecast. “The forecast was promising–cloudy during the day with a high in the upper 60’s and showers at night–but what we got was something altogether different. Brilliant sunshine all day, and, not being prepared for that, I got some nasty sunburn on my calves.

At night it was cold, rainy, and windy–not the light rain I expected. Fortunately, I brought along a down jacket, which I wore under my raincoat, and heavy wool gloves.”

(06/06/2019) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Earl Fee is a canadian phenom, and at 90 he is still setting world records on the track

There must be something in the water in Elstow, Sask., where Earl Fee was born (he was raised in Toronto, where he still lives). The 90-year-old demolished not one but two world masters’ track records on the weekend at the USATF Iowa Open/Masters Championships and All Comers Meet in Grinnell, Iowa. (Another track phenom, Olga Kotelko, was raised not far from Elstow. Kotelko died in 2014 at age 95 with 34 world records to her name.)

Fee’s time of 1:30.76 in the 400m was 16 seconds faster than the previous record set by Ugo Sansonetti of Italy in 2010, and his 800m performance of 3:42.5 took 34 seconds off Antonio Nacca’s previous record set in 2014. 

Fee was a decent runner in his school and university days, but left the sport for a number of years, taking it up again in 50s. He soon started breaking age-group records on the track.

Fee still holds the M85 world record in the indoor 400m, and the M70, M75, M80 and M85 records in the indoor 800m, as well as the M75 record in the indoor mile, the M80 record in the 4x400m relay (anchoring a team that included the late Ed Whitlock), and several outdoor age group records.

(03/25/2019) ⚡AMP
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Gene Dykes has an insane racing schedule for this year from 5k to 218 milles

Gene Dykes, the 70-year-old from Philadelphia whose marathon world record attempt ended in disappointment when he realized the event he chose (the Jacksonville Marathon in Florida) was not USATF-sanctioned has posted his chosen races for 2019 on his Facebook page–all 34 of them. (His 2:54:23 on a certified course is the fastest ever run by someone 70 plus.)

Dykes is as prolific a racer as 2018 Boston Marathon champion Yuki Kawauchi. Here’s what he has lined up for this year: 34 races, consisting of five marathons (including Boston, Big Sur, New York and Philadelphia), 13 ultras (10 of them on the trails, and including no fewer than four 100-milers and a 24-hour track race), and 16 shorter races.

What does not appear on the schedule is another stab at the record he thought he’d bagged in Jacksonville. Though Dykes told us in December that he was planning another attempt at Ed Whitlock’s M70 record at either the Houston Marathon or the Louisiana Marathon (both are January 20), he has now said that’s off, partly because he’s recovering from a fall at the Wild Azalea 50-miler in Louisiana January 5. 

Gene wrote on his Strava account, "Trail was particularly treacherous this year.  Wet, roots covered in fallen leaves.  I went down hard more than a dozen times.  I banged up my knee pretty badly at the 30 mile mark but I was able to finish off the next 20 miles.

"I couldn't walk that evening or the next day.  Often wondered if I'd ever run again.  It's a week later now, and the swelling has mostly subsided."

He did post on Monday that he is feeling just fine now. He was able to run 8.5 miles January 15 at 7:49/mile pace.  His next race on his schedule is the Chilly Cheeks 11k trail race January 20.

(01/16/2019) ⚡AMP
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72-year-old Liang Huguo might be the fastest Marathoner 70 plus in China clocking 3:57

Liang Huguo took up running at age 70. He’s run a sub-4-hour marathon. What’s this Chinese senior’s secret?

He never smoked or drank and did a lot of swimming. He took up cycle racing after retirement, and hiked to Everest base camp

Two years ago, the 72-year-old from Yunnan switched to running, and has since finished 23 marathons. He tells us about his simple diet and training.

He is following an old-school recipe for improving as a runner and leading a full life – a simple diet, no-frills training, travel, and stimulating company.

He has already run a sub-four-hour marathon, dominates in his age group in China, and is enjoying it all immensely.

“I don’t run to just finish. In every marathon I want to beat my PR. If I am far off my personal record I feel really disappointed with myself. I am like this with everything, I want to do everything the best I can,” he explains.

His current PR is three hours and 57 minutes. It qualified him for his age category for the Boston Marathon, and he is going to the United States to take part in it.

“Are you going to run Boston? I cannot speak English, it would be good if we can go together,” he says excitedly.

“We can share a room – you don’t smoke! Whenever I used to go to a race and share a room with Chinese runners, they smoked and they are really noisy. Now I always get a single room just for me. I did this in Berlin this year.”

Liang paid an arm and a leg for a running package tour to the Berlin Marathon, currently Chinese marathoners’ favorite overseas race, but it was worth it, he says.

It was here he set his personal best, and he was left impressed and encouraged by the number of people of his age running.

The official world marathon record in the 70-75 age group stands at two hours, 54 minutes and 48 seconds, set in 2004 by the legendary Ed Whitlock of Canada. Liang is in awe of both the man and the age-group records the late Whitlock set.

“My goal now is to run a 3:30 marathon,” he reveals.

But drawing comparisons between Liang and Whitlock would be unfair. Liang first donned his running shoes at the age of 70, while Whitlock had been an elite cross-country runner in his youth who applied that residual fitness base to train for marathons in his forties.

We will never know what Liang could have done with his talent had he been discovered and received proper coaching as a youngster.

I don’t eat much … I eat mainly vegetables, not much meat. 

“I don’t get injured,” he shrugs. “Once my hamstring felt a little tight after a marathon, and it bothered me for a while. Then it just went away.”

He may well be the fastest Chinese runner in his age category, but he says he does not think anyone keeps statistics for that in China. As he is clearly thrilled by the thought of possibly being a national record-holder.

Liang does not get hung up on dietary fads and eats sensibly. “I don’t eat much, but I eat whatever there is. I eat mainly vegetables, not much meat. Every day I drink half a litre of milk, half a litre of yogurt, one egg, one banana and one spoonful of honey,” he explains.

“I try to sleep as much as I can, but now my sleep quality is bad. After five hours I cannot sleep any more. I know this is not good for your health.”

Despite his gregariousness, Liang is a solitary runner. “I run about 80km [50 miles] a week, always on my own, unless I run with my apprentice – she is 47, and has just started running.”

Every weekend he takes a bus for an hour to travel across Kunming to do his long run – at least 20km (12 miles) on the newly laid running paths along Dianchi Lake.

The runners we come across there recognize and greet Liang warmly, including a running couple who happen to work for Yunnan Television.

“They interviewed me recently,” Liang says proudly. “Everyone knows me.”

(01/01/2019) ⚡AMP
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A new running podcast is going to start up January 10 from Strava

Strava is starting another running podcast beginning January 10. The fitness tracking app is about to unveil a new podcast entitled “Athletes Unfiltered,” for the runners and cyclists who use it.

It will be hosted by The North Face-sponsored ultrarunner Hillary Allen and feature interviews with extraordinary athletes and athletes in extraordinary circumstances.

One of the first episodes will feature an interview with Gene Dykes (photo), who recently broke the late Canadian marathoner Ed Whitlock‘s WMA M70 marathon record with his 2:54:23 performance in Jacksonville, Florida. 

Strava posted this on their website, “Athletes Unfiltered features normal athletes. They're good, inspiring people, daring enough to share their journey day after day, whether that's breaking a marathon PR or cutting a run short to desperately search for the nearest toilet.”

(12/23/2018) ⚡AMP
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The marathon that 70-year-old Gene Dykes ran 2:54:23 was not sanctioned by the USATF and his world record will not be accepted

70-year-old Gene Dykes clocked 2:54:23 at the Jackson Marathon but it is not going to be accepted as an official world Record because the race was not sanctioned by the USATF.  Gene posted this on Facebook.

“Before running the Jacksonville Marathon, I reached out to the race director for assurance that it was a suitable venue for setting a world record, and I received the response that "you should have a good shot at the record".  

“I assumed that he was correct, but I was remiss in not doing my own homework.  It appears that, although the Jacksonville Marathon (course) is certified by the USATF, the race was not sanctioned by the USATF, and both must be valid for recognition of records by USATF/IAAF.”

Many races do not pay the fee to be sanctioned by the USATF because they do not see the benefit.  The larger races with elite runners have to be sanctioned and they do pay the fee.  

A race of 30,000 plus runners pay $15,300 to the USATF.  A smaller race of 3000 pay $1460.

These fees have nothing to do with the course being certified.  Most races know the importance of having their course certified.  It appears in this case, Jacksonville paid to have their course certified but not the sanctioned fee. 

This would have gone completely unnoticed and maybe the race Director did not realize Gene Dykes was going to break Ed Whitlock world record.

But Gene did and now it is not going to be accepted as an official record because this fee was not paid. Maybe in a case like this the fee could not be paid after the fact? 

“Gene Dykes deserves the record,” says Bob Anderson “and there should be something that can be done to make this right.  If it is just about money, we can pay that.”

Obtaining a USATF sanction involves filling out a sanction agreement to form a relationship between the sanctioned event and USATF. Basically, it means that an event has agreed to follow applicable USATF rules and will be afforded the benefits like insurance and other things as outlined on their site.

Gene continued on FB.  “Thank you all so much for the nice things posted about my race.  I am still proud of what I've accomplished - it just looks like it's not going to be "official".  That said, I still have four more years to do it right, and, who knows, that might happen sooner than you think!”

”Let’s not give up on what you already did Gene. You ran 26.2 miles in 2:54:23 and it should be accepted as the official world record,” says MBR Bob Anderson. “This time is too amazing to ignore.”

(12/22/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Ed Whitlock’s world 70 plus marathon record has been broken by Gene Dykes

Many thought Ed Whitlock’s 2:54:48 Marathon world Record for 70 plus was untouchable until Gene Dykes came on the scene this year.  

The 70-year-old Gene Dykes, a retired computer programmer clocked 2:54:23 December 15 in Jacksonville, Florida. This breaks the world record for 70 plus by 25 seconds.  

He was over a hour ahead of second place in his division and Gene ran the fastest time for men 55 plus.  (Click on the link to read more about Gene in our exclusive two part profile done a couple of months back.)

Gene has only been racing serious a few years now.  He had gone under three hours twice already this year and felt he was ready to break the world record by year end.

He decided to hire a coach recently and ever since then Gene has been winning and setting records from 1500m to 200 miles.  

Unlike a lot of marathoners he also believes in running races up to 200 miles.  Another key element he says is to make sure his weight is just right. It is hard because he loves to eat.  

(12/17/2018) ⚡AMP
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Gene Dykes is getting faster every year - My Best Runs Exclusive Profile Part Two

My Best Runs Exclusive Profile Part Two.  Gene Dkyes is only the second man in history over the age of 70 to run a marathon under three hours. He has done it twice.  He ran 2:58:28 at the Rotterdam Marathon and then he clocked 2:55:18 in Toronto Oct 21. 

Only Ed Whitlock have run faster.  Gene Dykes was born in 1948 in Canton, Ohio. 

All of his PR's from 200 miles to 1500m (accept for the 5k) have been set in the last year. He has a B.A. in chemistry and a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cornell University in 1978.  

He has been married since 1982 and they both moved to Philadelphia from Ithaca, New York in 1993.  After his Toronto Marathon we asked Gene about his race strategy. 

"I’m a slave to my GPS watch while running a race," says Gene.  "I nearly always run negative splits on any race shorter than a marathon, and I’m rarely more than a minute or two slower in the second half a marathon. 

I consume far fewer calories before and during a race than most runners seem to."  How about your weight?  He thinks the  "Two seconds per pound per mile is a rule that is awfully important.  Keeping weight down for a major race is the hardest part of training. 

It’s especially hard when I use the “See Food” diet.  I’ll eat just about anything, especially when I see it." 

In 2017 he was only one of 13 to complete the Triple Crown of 200's and he was the oldest finisher in each of them.  

In August he ran the 206.5 mile Bigfoot 200, September was the 205.5 mile Tahoe 200 and October was the 238 mile Moab 240.  In 2018 he won ten USATF National Championships from 1500m on the track to 100 mile on the trail.  So what is ahead for Gene?  

 "Having turned 70 this year, I decided that I would spend the year chasing records and national championships and forego many of the big ultra races that I really love. 

I still have one national age group record to topple which I expect to happen at the Philadelphia Half Marathon in November.  Having come up just 34 seconds short of beating Ed Whitlock’s venerable M70 age group record in the marathon, you can be sure that I’m making plans on another attempt within a year. 

I’m keeping those plans secret, though," Gene told My Best Runs.  In the meantime Gene has signed on to the Run The World Challenge 3 team.  

Gene is at the top of the 70 plus world and don't you get the feeling he is going to be setting a lot more records? (Photo taken at the USATF National Outdoor Championships in Spokane)

(10/29/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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Gene Dykes is currently the world's top 70 Plus runner - My Best Runs Exclusive Profile Part One

Gene Dykes is the world's best runner in the world currently seventy plus. "One of my 'secret' training methods for marathons is to run a lot of ultras," Gene told My Best Runs in this exclusive profile. "I’ll begin training for Boston in January, and to kick it off I’ll run a 50-miler in January and both a 100-miler and a 200-miler in February. During March I’ll convert that training base into marathon speed." Sounds wild and unconventional but it has been working for 70-year-old Gene Dykes from Philadelphia..."It was thought by many of us that Canada's Ed Whitlock's records were way beyond reach," says lifelong runner and Runner's World and My Best Runs founder Bob Anderson.  "At age 73 Ed became the first 70 plus runner in the world to run the marathon under three hours."  In 2004 73-year-old Ed Whitlock clocked an amazing 2:54:48 at the Scotiabank Tornonto Waterfront Marathon.  No one ever had run a marathon that fast 70 plus. The late Ed Whitlock was in a league of his own until now.  At the same marathon this year on October 21, 70-year-old Gene Dykes clocked 2:55:18.  My Best Runs wanted to find out more about this new super star, a runner who has set PR's at all distances (other than the 5k) over the last year from 1500m to 200 miles. How did Gene discover running?  "It’s probably more accurate to say that I discovered running twice," said Gene. "The first time, when I was about fourteen, it just kind of popped into my head to run three miles to the house of a girl I was interested in.  After about a mile and a half, I had to walk for a bit.  I was really disgusted with myself, and I swore I would never again resort to walking on a run.  I actually kept this promise, until I started doing trail races, of course, where there are lots of good reasons to walk now and then."  After this he ran track in high school for a couple of years. "In my senior year I thought I was pretty good when I dominated the 2-mile run in my county.  That notion was quickly dispelled when I ran track in college and I was totally blown away by the competition.  For the next four decades, I would stay in jogging shape much of the time, but it never occurred to me to race because it had been firmly impressed upon me that I wasn’t a very good runner," Gene remembers.  He rediscovered running in 2004 at the age of 56 after a six year layoff because of a torn hamstring... "A golfing acquaintance told me he had a running group and that I should join him sometime.  A classic case of falling in with a bad crowd.  They encouraged me to run some races with them, and discovering that I wasn’t half bad, my running career was born," Gene told us.  So how important is running to Gene?  "It started out as an activity I looked forward to on weekends, and it slowly took over as my main hobby.  Probably starting around 2011 when I ran my first adventure race and started training for Comrades (56-mile race in South Africa) it became way more than just a hobby.  While it will never quite reach the point of being 'all-consuming.' I suppose you would be forgiven for thinking that, considering that I’ll have done 38 races in 34 weekends this year."  The obvious next question was, tell us about your training.  "For about nine years I just stumbled my way through training.  I did lots of long, slow runs with occasional track workouts.  I gradually improved, and I was having a lot of fun, but I was worried that my best days were behind me when I fell miserably short of a new marathon PR at the 2013 Toronto Marathon.  Swallowing my pride and opening my wallet, I hired a coach.  What a life changing decision that was!  In just five months I went from a half decent runner with modest goals to a runner capable of competing at the highest levels. Training now consists of fewer miles, but harder workouts and fewer rest days," says Gene.  He has set PR's in the last 12 months from 200 miles down to the 1500m.  He clocked 98 hours, 10 minutes 22 seconds for 200 miles, 23:41:22 for 100 miles, 1:26:34 for the half marathon and 5:17 for 1500m.  In 2018 he won ten USATF national championships. His 2:57:43 clocked at this year's Rotterdam Marathon was a world single age record until he bettered it in Toronto.  Gene says, "I’m particularly fond of having won championships at both track 1500 meters and trail 100 mile this year.”  In part two Gene talks about his diet, going after more records, dealing with injuries and a lot more.  Coming tomorrow October 29 on My Best Runs.           (10/28/2018) ⚡AMP
by Bob Anderson
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70-year-old Gene Dykes has been named USATF Athlete of the Week

Gene Dykes from Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania set an American masters 70-74 record in the marathon to earn USATF Athlete of the Week. Dykes, 70, won the 70-74 age group in the WMA Marathon Championships at the Scotiabank Toronto Marathon, running 2:55:18 to take more than two minutes off his own American record. He was also only 30 seconds off the world 70-74 best, set by Canadian legend Ed Whitlock. Dykes and Whitlock are the only two men over 70 to have broken three hours in the marathon.  Gene wrote this on FB before the race, "On Sunday I will be running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and the big goal is to beat one of the most revered marathon records on the books - Ed Whitlock's M70-74 age group record of 2:54:48, which he ran in 2004 at the ripe old age of 73.  If all goes well, it will probably be a nail-biter. I've been training hard for about eight weeks and training has gone well." (10/25/2018) ⚡AMP
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Gene Dykes is only the second person 70 plus to run a sub three hour marathon

70-year-old Gene Dykes, of Philadelphia, only missed breaking Ed Whitlock‘s 70-74 age group record of 2:54:48 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon yesterday by 34 seconds. Dykes is still the only other person in the world besides Whitlock to run a sub-3 marathon at the age of 70. It happened the first time earlier this year at the Rotterdam Marathon on April 8, just a few days after Dykes turned 70 on April 3. He ran 2:57. “My daughter contacted an Amsterdam newspaper and they splashed my picture on the front page,” Dykes said, joking that “you can get anything you want if you have a lot of chutzpah.” Dykes sets a string of records and it happened again Sunday (Oct 21), with Dykes’ 2:55:18 finish at Scotiabank, just shy of Whitlock’s record. Dykes only took up marathon running at age 58, and he only started breaking records last year, when he broke seven USATF age-group records in a single track race: the 15K, 10 mile, 20K, 25K, 30K, 20 mile, and 2-hour records. Also last year, he was one of only 13 people to run the “triple crown” of 200-mile trail ultramarathons, consisting of the Bigfoot 200, the Tahoe 200, and the Moab 240. And he was the oldest finisher in each. (10/23/2018) ⚡AMP
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