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Kelvin Kiptum: The Amazing Marathon Runner No One Expected to Break the World Record

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After his historic feat of running a marathon in under 2 hours, albeit unofficially, Eliud Kipchoge said that one day, someone will do it. Kelvin Kiptum shaved off 34 seconds of Kipchoge’s world record of 2:01:39 at the Chicago Marathon to set a new world record of 2:00:35. Who’s Kelvin Kiptum, and is he the future of marathon running?

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Kelvin Kiptum’s Background

Kelvin Kiptum comes from an athletic family. His father was a runner, and his mother played volleyball. He has four siblings who also are sporty. His father influenced him and was also inspired by Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopian great Haile Gebrselassie. Kiptum attended St. Patrick High School and was trained by a renowned Irish coach, Colm Connell.

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Kelvin Kiptum’s Career

Kelvin Kiptum’s world record at the Chicago Marathon. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you look back at Kelvin Kiptum’s first three races, it appears as though a world record was in sight. On his debut, the world record holder clocked the fastest time ever run by anyone on their first road race. He’s also run three of six of the fastest times in history.

Kiptum began his long-running distance career In 2016. Two years later, he competed at the Eldoret Half Marathon and clocked 1:02:01. In 2019, Kiptum made his international debut at the Lisbon Half Marathon, where he finished the race in fifth place. Other races he took part in include:

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Running Under 2:02

Kelvin Kiptum continued to rise. At the Valencia Marathon, he ran 2:01:53, set a course record and clocked the fourth-fastest time in history. He also became the third man after Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele to run under 2:02.  

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World Marathon Record

Kiptum made his marathon major debut at the London Marathon in April 2023. He ran a perfect race and crossed the finish line in 2:01:25, a course record and missed out on Eliud Kipchoge’s record by 16 seconds. To demonstrate just how fast he was, he beat second-placed Geoffrey Kamworor by almost three minutes.

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After this performance, Kiptum lined up for his second world major at the Chicago Marathon. He set a new world record of 2:00:35, beating Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:01:09 by 16 seconds. Kiptum became the first person to run an official marathon under 2:01.

However, this wouldn’t have happened had Kiptum cancelled his participation a week before the race. He wasn’t feeling well and planned to pull out, but his coach requested him not to. 

That said, the new world record holder admits he never thought about breaking the world record. However, he was inspired by the time projections and gave the course and world records a shot and got both.

“A world record was not on my mind but it came naturally. I saw the time projections and decided to attack it,” Kiptum said.

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Paris 2024 Olympics

Kiptum has expressed his excitement at the prospect of representing Kenya at the 2024 Olympics. He’s also looking forward to competing against marathon great Eliud Kipchoge.  

Kelvin Kiptum is the new face of marathon running. Whether he’ll break his record or someone else will break it, only time will tell. 

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