World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum brought Iten to a standstill as he returned home to Elgeyo Marakwet county following his record-breaking exploits in Chicago on Sunday
World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum received a hero’s welcome as he returned home in Elgeyo Marakwet county on Wednesday following his exploits in Chicago on Sunday.
Area leaders, led by county governor Wisley Rotich, joined family and friends as they camped at Eldoret Airport to wait for the man of the moment, before accompanying him home.
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The convoy snaked its way through Eldoret town as the athlete waved to his fans before stopping in Iten when the leaders and the runner addressed fans who had gathered to welcome him.
Kiptum was then ushered into the county headquarters where the governor welcomed him to his office before addressing the press.
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“If you want to win any race across the world, there are only two things, you are either born or training in Elgeyo Marakwet county,” Rotich said, while explaining why Elgeyo Marakwet is known as the ‘County of Champions.’
“Former world record holder Eliud Kipchoge trains in Elgeyo Marakwet, Mo Farah ran for a European country but trained in Elgeyo Marakwet. Now, records are for those born here. Kiptum has returned us to our rightful place.”
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Kiptum, meanwhile, urged budding athletes to ensure they run clean and focus on their training if they want to succeed in athletics.
“My secret is training not any other thing. The food I eat is just the normal one, ugali, rice and indigenous vegetables,” said Kiptum, who comes from Chepkorio in Keiyo South Constituency.
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Rotich then used the opportunity to warn rogue medical personnel in the county against selling prohibited substances to athletes in Elgeyo Marakwet.
“Those cheating our athletes here in Iten and giving them drugs to dope, we know you, we have chased away a few and we will chase away all of you until Elgeyo Marakwet becomes the best destination and no rogue people will come here,” added Rotich.
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Kiptum run an astonishing 2:00:35 in Chicago on Sunday, obliterating Eliud Kipchoge’s record by 35 seconds, to become the first athlete to run a marathon under 2:01 in what was just his third race after winning in Valencia last December and London in April this year.