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Gene Dykes reveals his secret to breaking world records at 70

Dykes' recommendation? "Just run."

Gene Dykes is the 70-year-old who broke Ed Whitlock’s world masters record on Saturday. Dykes of Philadelphia, Penn. ran 2:54:23 to grab the record at the Ameris Bank Jacksonville Marathon in Florida. 


RELATED: Gene Dykes breaks Ed Whitlock’s M70 marathon record in 2:54:23

It’s no surprise that Dykes was able to set a new record, he ran a sub-3 hour marathon just a few weeks ago at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. In Toronto, Dykes finished in 2:55:18, just shy of Whitlock’s record of 2:54:48. 

Ed Whitlock
Ed Whitlock at the Dec. 10, 2016 “mob match” between the Ranelagh Harriers and the South London Harriers.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Dykes describes his secrets to success. “I never stretch, never do flexibility exercises,” he told the Wall Street Journal. “No weightlifting, no strength, no core.” Dykes also doesn’t worry too much about calories or strictly adhere to a particular diet. “I tend to eat healthy, but I’ll eat junk food with the best of them.” In summation, Dykes said he, “just runs.”

RELATED: VIDEO: Famous Ed Whitlock marathon stat featured on ‘Jeopardy!’

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.

This year he’s racked up 10 (US) national championships, seven USATF age-group records, and three non-USATF age-group records, including the STWM, and a 3:16 at Boston, his third age-group win in a row and a new 70+ course record on a day in which the weather was referred to by STWM announcer Geoff Wightman as “biblically bad.”

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