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Gene Dykes to target Ed Whitlock’s M70 world record at Chicago in 2020

The #UltraGeezer hopes to nail Ed Whitlock's 2:54:48 M70 world record next year

Gene Dykes, 71, is a marked man. Still considered the most likely to take down Ed Whitlock’s M70 marathon world record of 2:54:48, he wasn’t able to do it this year due to illness and injury, but he plans to try again at the Chicago Marathon in 2020.

Dykes still had an incredible year, breaking both his own Boston age-group record (and going sub-3) as well as the U.S. M70 records in the 100-mile and 24-hours. In the process he raced in some spectacular places. Here’s a sampling of his photos from those races.

Arches Ultra, Arches National Park, Utah. Photo: Gene Dykes/Facebook

RELATED: Gene Dykes bows out of Scotiabank Toronto record attempt

The “#UltraGeezer’s” plans for 2020 include a 100-miler, two 200-milers, three “very competitive marathons,” including the Boston/London double just six days apart. Dykes plans to win his age group at both but also says he might go for the record at London. Chicago is the main target for the serious attempt on Whitlock’s record. He is also planning a few marathons and a 50K with his daughters, Erica and Hilary, and some fun runs with friends. Altogether: about 35 races in five countries, including six marathons, six ultras, and numerous other shorter distances, some competitive and some just for fun.

Dykes sprinting to the finish at the Haddonfield 5K in New Jersey, 2019. (He ran 19:23, 22 seconds off his PB set at this race six years previously). Photo: Gene Dykes/Facebook

Dykes will visit Toronto for the World Masters Athletics Championships in July 2020, racing the cross-country, 5K, 10K, steeplechase and/or the half-marathon. “I may run the 1,500 meter just for fun,” he says on his Facebook page. “The competition in that event is really fierce.”

At the rim of a volcanic caldera during the Azores trail race–Whalers’ Great Route Ultra Trail. Photo: Gene Dykes/Facebook

Regarding the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, where Dykes came within 30 seconds of Whitlock’s record in 2018, he says, “Toronto is a sad omission, but I’d really like my next appearance there to be going after Ed’s age 73 mark of 2:54:48, regardless of whether I beat it elsewhere in 2020.” Dykes will be racing Chicago with his daughter.

Dykes concludes: “I reserve the right to add and delete races from this list for any reason whatsoever!”

RELATED: Gene Dykes’ M70 record invalid, Whitlock’s stands

Dykes with Meb Keflezighi at the Boston Marathon, after realizing he’d run 2:58 and broken his own age-group record. Photo: Gene Dykes/Facebook

A year ago, Dykes beat Whitlock’s record at the Jacksonville Marathon in Florida, but later learned the race was not USATF sanctioned and the record could not be ratified.

Dykes finishing the Big Sur Marathon, two weeks after Boston. He ran 3:18, winning his age group and setting a new age-group record for this race. Photo: Gene Dykes/Facebook

You’ll notice that Dykes often appears in pictures at road races looking intense and pushing hard, and at trail races looking relaxed and posing for the camera next to a scenic lookout. That’s because his running philosophy is to race on the roads for competition, and on the trails for the scenery. However in spite of racing to a 3:11 finish to win his age group at New York this year, he couldn’t resist stopping to take this photo from the Verrazano-Narrows bridge:

Photo: Gene Dykes


Gene Dykes at Dawn 2 Dusk 2 Dawn, Sharon Hill, Penn. May 2019. Dykes broke the US M70 100-mile and 24-hour age group records. Photo: Gene Dykes/Facebook

We very much admire Dykes’s extensive collection of calf sleeves.

Dykes and daughter Hilary at The North Face Endurance Challenge 50K, overlooking San Francisco, in 2019. Photo: Gene Dykes/Facebook


Dykes and Gordy Ainsleigh, legendary founder of the Western States Endurance Run, at the Brazos Bend 100-miler in Texas, December 2019. Photo: Gene Dykes/Facebook