Marathon Man

October 20, 2014

Surely anyone who chooses to go through the punishing regime of running 15 to 40 kilometres a morning, followed by stretching, then another 10 to 15 kilometres in the afternoon must be fleeing inner demons. But it turns out there’s no childhood hardship; Dylan Wykes, 31, just happened to be really good at running: high-school cross-country team, scholarship to an American university, national championships.

Post-university, he signed up for weekend road races to stay in the game — “they fit well with a day job” — and moved his way up: 10K, half-marathon, and eventually the gruelling pinnacle of the 42-kilometre run. Despite the constant threat of muscle strains and fractures, “marathons have their mystique.”

Wykes’s hard work paid off: he holds  the record as Canada’s second-fastest  marathoner of all time and was the top Canadian finisher at the London Olympics. Next up: Rio 2016. “There’s always the  possibility of running my next race faster than the last one, and that’s exciting for me.”

GET GOING

Bring Grandma  Led by two-time Olympian Carey Nelson, Forerunners’ 12-week beginners clinic ($50) will take you from nothing to something at a gradual run/walk pace. Forerunners.ca

Bring Friends  Vancouver Falcons coach John Hill leads intensive interval training and speed-work sessions ($15 drop-in, $55 membership) twice weekly. Vfac.ca

Bring a Defibrillator  Marathon vets  ace their game with the Running Program ($199 per month) at Peak Centre. It offers individualized  training regimens with blood lactate testing, physiological monitoring,  and customizable goals. Peakcentre­vancouver.ca

THE BURN

750 calories / hr by a 155-lb person  running a marathon

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