Dylan Wykes, Canada’s fastest active marathon runner and second fastest all-time with his personal best of 2:10:47 is cautiously optimistic about his comeback from an injury plagued recent two years. At the end of April and beginning of May this year, Wykes raced the Vancouver Sun Run in the time of 29:11 and the Lowertown Brewery 10K in Ottawa in 29:40. He will now test his half-marathon fitness Sunday, June 22nd in the Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon. His 10,000m best is 28:12.82 run on the Stanford University track, while his fastest half marathon time is 1:02:14 from New York City both from 2011 and 1:02:38 from his race in Tempe, Arizona in 2012. “I think things are coming along well, but it’s hard to know these days. I’ve had two years of off-and-on injuries so I’m finding it difficult to get a clear sense of my exact fitness now,” said the 31-year-old.
Wykes, originally from Kingston, Ontario now lives in Vancouver and trains with the BC Endurance Project, which is headed by Richard Lee. Lee is responsible for convincing Wykes to race the 2012 Rotterdam Marathon four weeks after dropping out of the Lake Biwa Marathon at the 26K mark with stomach issues. It was that race in Rotterdam where Wykes qualified for the 2012 London Olympic Games and set the second-fastest Canadian time. The fastest all-time marathon was run by Jerome Drayton in 1975, which remains at 2:10:09. Drayton accomplished the feat during the Fukuoka Men’s Marathon. “My main goal is to be competitive and have another positive race experience. Obviously I’d like to win. But, I don’t know who is racing, so don’t want to get too far ahead of myself,” said Wykes when asked about his goal next for next Sunday.
The course provides a net drop of approximately 90m from start to finish, with the largest drop taking place from around the 8K to the 10K points, dropping an estimated 70m in that space. Asked if the downhill course favours him, he said, “I don’t think the downhill works to my advantage. My injuries (pelvis/hip and area) are worst when running downhill. So, I’m still very cautious running downhill. The race will be no different.” Wykes personal best on the course is over two minutes slower than his 2012 Tempe performance with his 1:04:35 from 2011.
The event record is 1:03:10 set by Kenya’s Patrick Nthiwa in 2007. Wykes will also face training partner Rob Watson (1:03:22 best) and four time Vancouver champion, Kip Kangogo of Lethbridge, Alberta. Kangogo owns a marathon best of 2:15:35 from the 2013 GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon. He recorded his best half-marathon time of 1:03:22 during the 2011 edition of the Scotiabank Half Marathon.