Kelvin Kiptum’s 2023: Total dominance from a novice who grabbed the marathon spotlight from Eliud Kipchoge

© Kelvin Kiptum

Kelvin Kiptum’s 2023: Total dominance from a novice who grabbed the marathon spotlight from Eliud Kipchoge

Joel Omotto 10:00 - 29.12.2023

Kelvin Kiptum started 2023 as a relatively unknown runner but ended it as one the most talked about athletes after shattering records at will, including the great Eliud Kipchoge’s mark

It was a year to remember for Kelvin Kiptum who started 2023 as a relatively unknown athlete and finished it as one of the most talked about runners.

Kiptum had surprised all by running the then third fastest time in marathon history and the quickest debut when he clocked 2:01:53 to win the Valencia Marathon last December but few expected what he produced after.

What seemed like a one-off in Valencia later turned into a warning shot as the then 23-year-old teared apart his opponents in London and Chicago, breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s world record in the process.

Astonishing London win

Kiptum ran an astonishing 2:01:25 in London in April 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.

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

Prior to Kiptum, a man hadn’t won London by more than a minute since 2012. 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.

World record heroics

He then went to Chicago in October and asserted his authority. Kiptum obliterated Kipchoge’s world record to set a new mark of 2:00:35, becoming the first man to run a marathon under 2:01.

After a 60:48 first half, Kiptum blitzed the second half in 59:47 in Chicago (the second-fastest second half ever, behind only behind his own 59:45 in London).

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.

Best male athlete in 2023?

He simply had a perfect year and the icing on the cake came when he was crowned World Athlete of the Year (Out of Stadia) with many feeling he stood a chance to clinch the overall prize had World Athletics not opted to split the award into three.

Following his astonishing record in Chicago, Kiptum is now seen as the heir to marathon great Kipchoge and there is a feeling among many that he will be the first man to run an official marathon under two hours.

With Rotterdam and the Paris Olympics his major assignments in 2024, few will bet against him achieving this or breaking another world record.