Kelvin Kiptum, a Kenyan-born athlete, was a relatively unknown figure in the international marathon scene until 10 months ago. At that time, the public only knew the names of renowned marathon runners, such as Eliud Kipchak, Haile Gerrelassie, and Abimbola Bikila.
But a year, as they say, can make all the difference. On December 2022, Kiptum burst onto the marathon scene and immediately made a splash in the headlines when he ran the fastest debut time of 2:01:53 at Valencia , the fifth fastest time in history. Four months later, he improved on this record, garnering gasps from all corners of the world, and won the April marathon in London in just 2:01:25, recorded as the second-fastest time ever, behind only the greatest-of-all time Kipchoge’s record of 2:01:09.
Kiptum at Chicago Marathon
Even without shattering world records, finishing and taking first place in a 26.2 mile race can be challenging. But evidently not for rookie Kiptum, who broke the record at the age of 23 while running just his third marathon in his life. He clocked a record-breaking time of 2:00:35, knocking 34 seconds off the previous world record of 2:01:09.
WORLD RECORD: We have a new man in town. Kelvin Kiptum just broke Eliud Kipchoge’s World Record with an unofficial time of 2:00:35! UNBELIEVABLE! pic.twitter.com/XfeMEzPveZ
— Chicago Marathon (@ChiMarathon) October 8, 2023
Kiptum adopted a ‘negative split’ strategy at the race, running at a slower pace in the first half (60:48) and accelerating in the second half (59:47). In the first 10 kilometers of the marathon, only two runners—Daniel Mateiko and Ronald Kirui—were able to keep up with Kiptum’s unwavering fast strides. However, ultimately the two were left behind in the race to be replaced by last year’s champion in the Chicago marathon, Benson Kipruto and Olympic bronze medalist Bashir Abdi.
But even then, Kiptum had still managed to keep a significant gap between him and his closest rivals. In the last few hundred meters of the race, Kiptum was running solo on the road, and by this time it was clear that he would win the race, and there was now only the matter of the world record being broken that was hanging in the air.
As he broke the tape at the finish line, he clocked a time of 2:00:35, setting a new world marathon record. Upon reaching the finish line, Kiptum was met with a large and enthusiastic crowd, which included a warm embrace from Bank of America Chicago Marathon Executive Race Director Carey Pinkowski.
Kiptum won the race by a margin of 3:27 over Benson Kipruto, who clocked 2:04:02, placed second at the event, and Bashir Abdi , who clocked 2:04:32 and placed third at the event.
“I feel so happy. I was well prepared. I was going for the course record, but fortunately, I got the world record,” said Kiptum after the race, as per sports brief.
The photo above is from a YouTube screengrab