On a sunny Sunday in East Islip, NY, #ultrageezer Gene Dykes broke the M70 50K world record at the USATF national 50K road championships, crossing the finish line in 3:56:43. He beat the previous record of 4:15:55, set by Germany’s Wilhelm Hofmann in 1997, by nearly 19 minutes.
This is the third world record Dykes can add to his resume, along with his M70 100-mile and 24-hour records. While his time has yet to be ratified, this is an incredible accomplishment for the already-decorated ultrarunner. To make his run even more impressive, he completed another 50K trail race only two weeks prior to his record-breaking run, and it’s been barely one month since he ran 152 miles (245 kilometres) at the Cocodona 250 in Arizona.
According to Dykes, the weather for Sunday’s race in Caumsett State Park was sunny, moderately windy, and not too hot, with temperatures hovering in the low 20s (Celsius) for most of the event. In a brief conversation with him after the race, he told Canadian Running (in a half-joking, half-serious manner) that he credits Canada’s late Ed Whitlock, one of the most decorated masters runners who ever lived, with his new 50K record.
“Thank you, Ed Whitlock, for never running a 50K,” he says.
Dykes is still aiming to take down Whitlock’s M70 marathon world record of 2:54:48, which he will attempt to do at this year’s London Marathon on October 3.