Reliving Kelvin Kiptum's marathon debut as anniversary nears

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ATHLETICS Reliving Kelvin Kiptum's marathon debut as anniversary nears

Festus Chuma 08:31 - 23.11.2023

Kelvin Kiptum's marathon debut anniversary approaches in 11 days, marking a year of record-breaking achievements in the world of running.

Today marks 11 days to the day that world marathon record holder Kelvin Kipum made his sensational marathon debut in the 2022 Valencia Marathon.

On December 4, 2022, the running world witnessed the rise of a new star in marathon racing as then 22-year-old Kiptum took to the streets of Valencia, leaving an indelible mark in marathon history. 

The Kenyan marathoner's debut performance, characterized by a stunning closing half and an unrivaled course record, marked the beginning of a journey that would see Kiptum shatter records and redefine what is possible in long-distance running.

Kiptum's victory in the 2022 Valencia Marathon was nothing short of extraordinary. 

With a closing half of 60:15, he crossed the finish line in 2:01:53, making him the third man in history to break the elusive 2:02 barrier. 

Not only did he break the course record by over a minute, but also established himself as the fastest debutant marathoner ever, a feat that left the running world in awe.

His triumph in Valencia saw him outclass the likes of Tamirat Tola, the 2022 world marathon champion, and other pre-race favorites, cementing his status as a rising star in the marathon world.

Fast forward to today, and Kelvin Kiptum's journey has only grown more impressive. 

As the World Athletics Awards 2023 approaches, the running community eagerly anticipates what Kiptum has in store. 

World Athletics themselves posted a message celebrating his achievements: "This time last year, Kelvin Kiptum was a couple of weeks away from making his marathon debut. He has since achieved three of the six fastest times in history, including a remarkable world record of 2:00:35."

The Chepsamo village-born star returned to training with the TCS London Marathon as his next target.

On April 23, he lined up for his second marathon, and the second World Athletics Platinum Label road race of his career. 

The world watched in amazement as he clinched victory in a course record time of 2:01:25, solidifying his position as the second-fastest marathoner in history, just behind Eliud Kipchoge's world record of 2:01:09.

What makes Kiptum's performances stand out is not just his speed, but his incredible consistency.His London Marathon run included a remarkable 5km split of 13:49 between 30km and 35km and a blistering 24th mile in just 4:23, helping him secure victory by almost three minutes and missing Kipchoge’s world record by a mere 16 seconds.

But Kiptum's most momentous achievement came in Chicago. After a half-marathon split of 1:00:48, he continued his relentless pace, recording another astonishing 30-35km split of 13:51. 

As he picked up the tempo, he reached the finish line in 2:00:35, becoming the first athlete to break 2:01 barrier in a record-eligible marathon and taking an astounding 34 seconds off Kipchoge's world record.

In Kiptum's own words, "I knew I was coming for a course record, but a world record – I am so happy." His Chicago victory was not just a triumph; it was a leap forward in marathon running history.

The question now is, could there be more records to break? Kelvin Kiptum has voiced his intention to attack his own world record at the NN Rotterdam Marathon in April 2024, setting his sights on breaking the elusive two-hour barrier. 

"I’ll try at least to beat my world record here," he said. "There’s no limit to human energy." His ambition knows no bounds, and the running world eagerly awaits his next feat.

As one of the finalists for the World Athlete of the Year awards, Kiptum has already left an indelible mark on the sport. 

The world will be watching on December 11, when the World Athletes of the Year will be announced on World Athletics’ social media platforms as part of the World Athletics Awards 2023.

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