Half the fun of the Bucks County Roadrunners Club Winter Series is just putting up with the elements.
So far, there’s been a lot of wet stuff for the first half of the popular 11-race event at Tyler State Park in Newtown but fortunately not a lot of it has been of the white variety.
That might change for this weekend but in the meantime, the BCRR folks are just happy they’ve been made it this far without any postponements or downgrades to fun runs.
“We got off to a wet start this year,’’ reports race director John O’Brien. “We had to modify the course of our first race due to the causeway flooding over when we were starting to set up, but we did get the race in as we have been able to do each week.’’
There have been some challenging moments, such as the recent “Wild Card’’ race, which is run half on pavement and half on trails.
A lot of rain created some rather trying conditions on the non-paved sections of the course.
No matter. Veteran Joe Boyce led the legion of runners through some muddy areas and all appeared to go well.
“We finally had our first taste of winter this past Sunday,’’ said O’Brien, “which really just made everything look great for the course. In spite of the rainy weather we’ve been getting about 270 people per race.’’
As for the races themselves, Jamie Gray has taken a lead in the overall scoring for the men with three victories in the first five races.
On the women’s side, Gina Miller has captured three titles and Justyna Wilson one.
The BCRR membership is adept at raising money for non-profits. During the Jingle Bell race, some $680 was tallied and donated to the Give A Christmas Fund.
In addition, $2,500 was donated to Tyler State Park and $4,500 each to Advocates for Home and Those in Need plus Give A Christmas.
For more information on the series, visit www.bcrrclub.com/winterseries.
Dykes sets record. . .almost
A couple months ago we wrote about world-class age-group runner Gene Dykes of Bala Cynwyd and his quest to break the world marathon record for men in the 70 age bracket.
Well, Dykes appeared to do just that when he ran last month’s Jacksonville Marathon in the sensational time of 2:54.23, supposedly eclipsing the standard (2:54.48) set by the late, great Ed Whitlock of Canada.
But wait. After this sensational achievement, the people who authorize the records (United States Track and Field) told Dykes he didn’t break the record because Jacksonville is not an officially sanctioned course for this sort of thing.
What a shame.
“As soon as I got home, I researched it and saw it wasn’t sanctioned,’’ Dykes told Runner’s World magazine. “The course has to be certified and the race has to be sanctioned. I should have done my homework. I’ve got nobody to blame but myself.’’
Ah well, if there’s one thing we’ve learned about Dykes is, he doesn’t accept defeat.
So you can expect him to be out there later this year (or 2020) with another attempt at the record.
And this time you can be sure he will check first about certification and sanctioning.
That said, Dykes isn’t consumed by this one record. He already holds a bunch of records at other distances. In November, at the Philadelphia Half-Marathon, he set the national record for 70-year-olds in the 13.1-miler with a 1:25.
“I’ve said all along, it was the pursuit of this (Whitlock) record that was my motivator,’’ Dykes told RW. “And having done it, I had said that being the record holder wasn’t important. It was setting a goal for myself and achieving. That’s exactly how I feel. I don’t feel like I have anything more to prove.
“It would be nice to have the record; I will go for it in the future. But I’m not going to wreck my 2019 plans over it. I have no record attempt planned. I’m not going to try to shoehorn it in. Maybe toward the end of the year. We’ll see how it goes.’’
Dykes runs 200-mile races as a “hobby.’’
He’s already set his sights on the World Marathon Championships in London, for which he is already qualified.
The amazing thing is, Dykes keeps getting older and his times keep getting faster.
That’s why he isn’t too disappointed with the outcome of the Jacksonville race.
“I guess, having the confidence that I’m still getting faster every year, I have no problem with waiting until next year (to try again),’’ he said.
“Rules are rules, and I wouldn’t dream of asking anybody to say it ought to be a record anyway,’’ he said. “Who wants to be looked at as a whiny baby?’’
Bucks County Roadrunners Club Winter Series Polar Bear 8-Miler, 9 a.m., Tyler State Park, Newtown. Contact www.bcrrclub.com.