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Articles tagged #Gene Dykes
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Gene Dykes was hoping to break Ed Whitlock's M70 record at STWM, but a lingering illness has taken him out of contention

Gene Dykes, who came close to breaking the late Ed Whitlock’s M70 marathon world record at last year’s Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, and broke it unofficially in Jacksonville, Florida in December (on a non-record-eligible course) was hoping to make another attempt at this year’s Scotiabank Toronto race on October 20, but has decided to bow out due to illness and the resulting loss of training time.

Whitlock’s record, set in 2004, is 2:54:48. He was the only person ever to run a sub-3 marathon over age 70 until Dykes, who has now done it four times: first in Rotterdam in 2018, where he ran 2:57. At last year’s Scotiabank Toronto (which doubled as the World Masters Marathon Championships), he ran 2:55:18, missing Whitlock’s record by 30 seconds. At Jacksonville, he ran 2:54:23, breaking the record by 25 seconds–or so he thought, until he discovered that although the course is certified, the race is not USATF-sanctioned, which means you can’t set records there. At Boston this year he ran 2:58:50, shattering his own age-group course record of 3:16:20.

Dykes is optimistic he is on the mend, and has a number of fall races scheduled, including a 100K in Texas this weekend, a small marathon in Maine (on the same day as he would have raced Scotiabank), and the New York City Marathon on November 3.

Dykes remains the only living human over 70 years of age to run a sub-3 marathon.

(09/23/2019) ⚡AMP
by Anne Francis
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Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, Half-Marathon & 5k Run / Walk is organized by Canada Running Series Inc., organizers of the Canada Running Series, "A selection of Canada's best runs!" Canada Running Series annually organizes eight events in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver that vary in distance from the 5k to the marathon. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and Half-Marathon are...

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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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Gene Dykes, 71, is looking to break the Big Sur International Marathon record for his age group this weekend

For someone who has done two marathons 24 hours apart, two weeks between Boston and Big Sur may seem like an eternity for Gene Dykes.

Unlike others that have challenged themselves by doing the two marathons in a short time span, it’s not the reason Dykes is running in Sunday’s 34th Big Sur International Marathon.

Instead, the Philadelphia resident is calling it unfinished business from his last trip out west to run the world-renowned course.

“They took my record away when I was 65,” Dykes said. “I owned the course record in my age class for about two months. Then it was discovered on paper that someone ran faster years earlier.”

Ray Piva set the record in the 65-69 age division in 1992 at 3 hours, 10 minutes. Dykes ran 3:26.44 in 2013.

Dykes, 71, can’t get that record back. But he’s looked at the record in the 70-older division — 3:46.36 by Heinrich Gutbier in 1997. His eyes are set on rewriting the mark, adding to his mantel of record-setting accomplishments of late.

“I shouldn’t have trouble beating that mark,” said Dykes, who broke the Boston Marathon record in his age group on April 15, clocking 2 hours, 58 minutes, 50 seconds. “It’s how fast do I want to go.”

What could derail Dykes from shattering the record is he will run the race with his daughter, who is roughly 30 minutes slower than him in a marathon.

“It will depend on how long we run together,” Dykes said. “I’m going to try and get her to run a little harder in the first half. Then I’ll do a negative split the last half of the race.”

While Dykes is six years older than during his last appearance on the Monterey Peninsula, he’s gotten faster covering marathons of all kinds. Most of his personal bests have come in the last year.

“I hired a coach a few years back,” Dykes said. “I just keep dropping time. It’s more of a retirement achievement.”

This will be Dykes’ third crack at Big Sur, but the first time he’s running it after tackling Boston in the same year.

“I guess I’ve always wanted to do Boston-Big Sur,” Dykes said. “Running marathons close together is nothing new to me. It seemed like a good time to do it. Two weeks is plenty of time to recover.”

Dykes’ accomplishments as an ultra distance runner have gained nationwide attention. Last year, the Wall Street Journal labeled him “Earth’s fastest 70-year-old distance runner.”

After setting the record at Boston, men’s winner Meb Keflezighi tweeted “Special shout out to 71-year-old Gene Dykes, who ran an outstanding 2:58.50.”

For someone who didn’t run his first road race until 12 years ago, Dykes has become one of the top ultramarathon runners in his age class in the world.

“I was a jogger my whole life,” Dykes said. “I wasn’t very good in track in high school or college. I was a mediocre runner at best. So I golfed and bowled a lot. I jogged for fun.”

That is until Dykes got in with what he now jokes as a bad crowd — a group of runners, who talked him into his first road race, a half marathon in 2006.

From that point, running became an addiction. Dykes ran well enough that his time allowed him to bypass the lottery for the New York Marathon.

“I could not pass that up,” Dykes said. “So I ran my first marathon. I ended up earning a qualifying time for Boston. So I had to do that.”

By his estimation, Dykes will do 10 to 20 road races a year ranging from 200 miles to the regular 26-mile, 385-yard marathon.

“I race longer and more frequent,” Dykes said. “I’ve done five 200 milers. It’s an endurance race. The clock is running. You run when you can and sleep when you have to. I’ve done them in four days.”

Six weeks before Boston, Dykes completed a 200-mile race, a 100-mile event and two 50-mile races in 2019.

“Every year I try and stretch the boundaries,” Dykes said. “I don’t know if I can do it. So there’s only one way to find out. The hardest part is finding time to sleep. Four hours over four days isn’t much.”

Dykes comes into each race with a plan. After completing his ultra road races — totaling 400 miles — he began preparing for Boston with the mindset of breaking the record in his age division.

“I told my coach you’ve got six weeks to get me under three hours at Boston,” Dykes said

(04/27/2019) ⚡AMP
by John Devine
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Big Sur Marathon

Big Sur Marathon

The Big Sur Marathon follows the most beautiful coastline in the world and, for runners, one of the most challenging. The athletes who participate may draw inspiration from the spectacular views, but it takes major discipline to conquer the hills of Highway One on the way to the finish line. Named "Best Marathon in North America" by The Ultimate Guide...

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Joan Benoit Samuelson and Gene Dykes clocked outstanding times at this year's Boston Marathon

There were many outstanding performances at the 2019 Boston Marathon.  Two that really stand out are: Forty years after her first win at the Boston Marathon, Joan Benoit Samuelson scored a victory of a more personal nature during Monday’s 123rd edition of the race.

The Cape Elizabeth native and Freeport resident met her stated goal of finishing the 2019 race within 40 minutes of her winning time in 1979, completing the 26.2-mile trek from Hopkinton to downtown Boston in an even 3 hours, 4 minutes while running much of the marathon with her daughter Abby (photo).

The effort not only enabled the 61-year-old Samuelson to place first in her age group (women 60-64) and 249th among all the women in the 30,000-runner field, but she also finished just 28 minutes and 45 seconds behind the 2:35:15 she ran to win Boston in her first-ever attempt at the distance as a college student four decades earlier.

“I did and I’m really happy about it,” Samuelson said during a postrace interview near the finish line with WBZ-TV.

“To have our daughter in this race with me meant a great deal to me. She’s as passionate about the sport as I am, and to be out there with everybody cheering us on and the weather backing off to maybe coming on a little too warm, I can’t complain,” she said.

On the men's side: 71-year-old Gene Dykes of Bala Cynwyd broke his own age-group record on Monday, posting the fastest course time for a 70-to-74-year-old at 2 hours, 58 minutes, 50 seconds.

Dykes set the previous course record for that age group in 2018 at age 70, posting a time of 3:16 in driving rain.

(04/15/2019) ⚡AMP
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Boston Marathon

Boston Marathon

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon and ranks as one of the world's best-known road racing events. The event attracts 500,000 spectators each year, making it New England's most widely viewed sporting event. Though starting with 18 participants in 1897, the event now attracts over 20,000 registered participants each year. You have to qualify to participate. Among...

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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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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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