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Sports at A Fast Pace

This 70-Year-Old Ran a 2:54 Marathon

This 70-Year-Old Ran a 2:54 Marathon

After six decades of running, Gene Dykes is running his best times at the age of 70, including breaking 3 hours in the marathon three times in 2018.


I’m have a blast running. Every day is a new adventure.

Gene Dykes has been running for five decades.

I usually do about 1,300 miles in races a year and close to 3,000 including training. Last year I did 43 races in 40 weekends. Actually, “I told my wife when I retired, oh, I’m not going to run all the time, I already run as much as I could. But I was so wrong.”

He averages 45-60 miles a week.

Some people are surprised that it’s so much and some people are surprised that I run so little each week… Of course, a month ago, I hit a 230-mile week, but that was all just one race.

Dykes loves the competition of racing.

He hired a coach five years ago.

I’d always resisted hiring a coach because, I mean, he’s going to tell you how to run. Who doesn’t know how to run? I said, well, obviously, I’m getting old, if I want to get a new PR, I’ll have to take a chance.

Dykes knocked 20 minutes off his marathon time.

He now runs 5Ks in under 20 minutes.

Dykes otherwise simplifies his training.

I don’t do cross-training, stretching, special diets, none of that stuff. I always tell people, I just run.

He says there are some exceptions.

Can’t start until the GPS starts. The miles don’t count.

I am married to my watch during training and a marathon. I keep myself right on pace. I set three marathon PRs last year. Five years ago, I never would have believed such a thing could have happened.

Dykes broke 3 hours three times in 2018.

He finished one in a PR of 2:54:23.

The time was an unofficial world record.

The late Ed Whitlock holds most 70+ age group records.

Even if I were to get my Jacksonville marathon time ratified as a world record, it would still be Ed Whitlock 35, Gene Dykes 1.

He’s prouder of another accomplishment.

I did a 200-mile race in August, September, and October two years ago. It’s another part of my ‘just run’ philosophy. Did I know whether or not I could run 200 miles month after month after month? Who knows? But you never know unless you try. If it gets to the point that I can’t beat times anymore, I have my own personal metric that I keep for trail runs which is the Oldest Known Finisher. I have five or six, seven races now where nobody older has ever finished the race. Of course, as I get older, that gets easier… My ultimate goal is to win the 120 age group in Boston some year.

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