Faith Kipyegon & Kelvin Kiptum crowned 2023 Athletes of the Year by American outlet

ATHLETICS Faith Kipyegon & Kelvin Kiptum crowned 2023 Athletes of the Year by American outlet

Joel Omotto 08:31 - 20.12.2023

Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon and Kelvin Kiptum have been named outright 2023 World Athletes of the Year by an American athletics outlet, a week after World Athletics split the award

American athletics publication has named Kenya’s Faith Kipyegon and Kelvin Kiptum as the 2023 World Athletes of the Year.

With controversy still raging over World Athletics’ decision to split the award into three at this year’s gala, LetsRun chose outright who deserved to be crowned male and female athlete of the year, settling on the two Kenyans.

The outlet had a panel of experts decide and also asked fans to cast a vote and the results went in favour of Kipyegon and Kiptum who most thought stood a big chance to be crowned by World Athletics had they stood by the previous format of crowning one outstanding man and woman.

Explaining why they settled on Kiptum, LetsRun said the world marathon record holder did not just have a near-perfect run when he won in London and Chicago, but also his winning margins set him apart.

In April, Kiptum ran an astonishing 2:01:25 in London to record the second fastest time in history at the time and also recorded the fastest half-marathon split ever in a marathon, having completed the first half in 61:40 and the rest in 59:45 of which the final 12k he ran alone.

“This wasn’t a choreographed sub-2 event with pacers in perfect conditions. This was a 23-year-old making himself an instant distance legend on the rainy streets of London,” said LetsRun, regarding Kiptum’s race in the English capital.

“Kiptum’s winning time of 2:01:25 took more than a minute off Eliud Kipchoge‘s 2:02:37 course record and was the second fastest time in history (now third).

“We know that in era of super shoes, times don’t necessarily mean as much as they used to. But please appreciate how dominant Kiptum was in London — the race that annually attracts the best fields in the sport (although neither Kipchoge nor Evans Chebet was in London this year).

“Prior to Kiptum, a man hadn’t won London by more than a minute since 2012. Eliud Kipchoge has won the London Marathon four times in his life. His margins of victory were as follows: five seconds, 46 seconds, 32 seconds, and 18 seconds. So, Kipchoge’s total margin of victory is 1:51 seconds over four races. Kiptum won London by 2:58 this year, the largest in the race’s history.”

Their feeling was the same towards Kiptum in Chicago, where he obliterated Kipchoge’s world record to set a new mark of 2:00:35.

“No man had even won Chicago by more than 30 seconds since 2011. In the professional era (prize money started in 1982), no man had ever won Chicago by even two minutes. The largest margin of victory in the pro era was 1:57. How much did Kiputm win by? 3:27,” it added.

For Kipyegon, it was an easy pick following her three world records in 1500m, 5000, and mile in the Diamond League before claiming a rare double at the World Championships where she won gold in 1500m and 5000m.

After a season-opening win in Doha, Kipyegon lowered the 1500m world record in Florence, clocking 3:49.11 to shave nearly a full second off Genzebe Dibaba’s 3:50.07.

She would do the same a week later in Paris, beating previous record holder Letesenbet Gidey to run 14:05.20 in her first 5,000m in eight years, before she obliterated the mile world record, running 4:07.64 to take more than four seconds off the previous mark, in Monaco in July.

“Kipyegon became the first woman to sweep the 1500 and 5,000 at a global championships and demonstrated unparalleled closing speed – she ran her last lap in 56.63 to win the 1500 and 56.59 to win the 5,000,” said LetsRun on Kipyegon’s achievements in 2023.

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