Running a marathon and completing it is, in itself, a Herculean feat. And to run a distance of 42.195 kilometres in two hours’ time is worthy of widespread media attention, for the world can look up to such heroes and draw inspiration from them. On Sunday, October 8, the sporting fraternity witnessed a new world record being scripted in marathons as Kelvin Kiptum crossed the finishing line in Chicago.
At the tender age of 23, Kelvin Kiptum made the headlines of almost every morning newspaper as he became a part of an elite club of record-holders in athletics. The young athlete from Kenya clocked a time of two hours and 35 seconds at the Chicago Marathon 2023. In the process, he broke the record for the men’s marathon set by his fellow compatriot and defending champion Eliud Kipchoge (the previous record was two hours, one minute and nine seconds).
According to reports, Kelvin Kiptum won a cash prize of USD 100,000 for winning the Chicago Marathon 2023. If rumours are to be believed, the Kenyan athlete might receive another USD 50,000 for setting a world record.
With his win at the Chicago Marathon 2023, Kelvin Kiptum became the only man on the planet to complete a marathon under the two-hour and one-minute mark. The Kenyan also holds three out of the top six fastest marathon run times in the history of the sport. For context, he came tantalisingly close to breaking the world record at the London Marathon earlier in 2023 as he completed the race with a time of two hours, one minute and 25 seconds, which was 16 seconds short of the then-world record.
So, as the world celebrates this incredible feat of Kelvin Kiptum, we take a look at the Kenyan athlete’s life, including his records, career highlights and more.
Deep diving into the career highlights of Kelvin Kiptum
His early days as a half-marathon runner
Born in Elgeyo, Kenya on December 2, 1999, Kelvin Kiptum won the Eldoret Half Marathon in 2018 at the young age of 18. The Kenyan finished the race in one hour, two minutes and one second.
Kelvin Kiptum made his international debut at the Lisbon Half Marathon in Portugal in 2019, where he finished the race in fifth place with a new personal record time of 59 minutes and 54 seconds. In December 2020, he finished the Valencia Half Marathon in Spain in sixth place. During that race, he set yet another personal record, finishing the half marathon in a time of 58 minutes and 42 seconds.
In 2021, Kelvin Kiptum won the first race of his career at the Lens Half Marathon in France where he clocked a finishing time of 59 minutes and 35 seconds. Later that year, he clocked a finishing time of 59 minutes and two seconds at the Valencia Half Marathon.
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Kelvin Kiptum’s entry into the world of marathon
On December 4, 2022, Kelvin Kipton made his marathon debut at the Valencia Marathon in Spain. He won his debut marathon race whilst clocking a completion time of two hours, one minute and 53 seconds. In his debut race, Kelvin Kipton became the third man in history to complete a marathon within two hours and two minutes, after Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele.
Kelvin Kiptum, by virtue of his impressive display in Valencia, also became the fastest-ever debutant in a marathon. He broke the course record by over one minute. In the same race, he defeated the 2022 world marathon champion and pre-race favourite Tamirat Tola of Ethiopia.
Kelvin Kipton scripting the world record
In 2023, Kelvin Kipton made his debut in the World Marathon Majors with his appearance at the London Marathon. He won the race in England and came within touching distance of the then-world record as he clocked a completion time of two hours, one minute and 25 seconds. Back in April 2023, Kipton’s time at the London Marathon was the second-fastest in the history of marathon races.
A few months down the line, Kelvin Kipton managed to beat the world record at the Chicago Marathon in the United States of America. He eventually succeeded in overtaking Eliud Kipchoge’s record that the Kenyan had set at the 2022 Berlin Marathon. Kelvin Kipton’s win at the Chicago Marathon 2023 was also his second in the World Marathon Majors.
In addition to marathons, Kelvin Kipton’s training also enabled him to compete in the 10,000-metre track races and the 10-kilometre on-road races. While his best performance in the 10,000-metre track races came at Stockholm, Sweden with a time of 28:27:87 minutes (in 2021), in the 10-kilometre on-road races his personal record time stands at 28:17 minutes in Utrecht, Netherlands (in 2019).
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
– Which world record did Kelvin Kiptum break?
On October 8, 2023, Kelvin Kiptum broke the world record for the fastest finish in a marathon race with a time of two hours and 35 seconds.
– Which shoes did Kelvin Kiptum wear at the Chicago Marathon 2023?
Kelvin Kiptum wore the prototype shoes under ‘NikeDev163’ that have been approved by World Athletics, the apex global governing body for athletics.
(Main and Featured Images Credits: Courtesy Instagram/@Kelvin Kiptum)