The 23-year-old Kenyan shatters Eliud Kipchoge’s world record with 2:00:35, while Sifan Hassan also wins at the Chicago Marathon
Yes, 2:00:35 isn’t a typo.
The prospect of a sub-2:01 marathon seemed scarcely believable, even with the dominance of Eliud Kipchoge over the last decade.
The double Olympic marathon champion has moved the world record on from Dennis Kimetto’s 2:02:57 in 2014 to the 2:01:09 he recorded in Berlin last season.
A drop of one minute and 48 seconds over eight years.
If that progression felt like a quantum leap, then Kelvin Kiptum’s world record of 2:00:35 at the Chicago Marathon (October 8) equates to travelling at light speed.
There was expectation that Kiptum could get close to Kipchoge’s 2:01:09.
After all, Kiptum’s previous two marathons got the world’s attention. He became the fastest male marathon debutant in history after victory in Valencia back in December 2022.
Then, at the this year’s London Marathon, the 23-year-old set a course record of 2:01:25 and narrowly missed out on Kipchoge’s mark.
To get the world record, there was always a sense of needing to see it to believe it.
It’s not just that 2:01:09 is an insanely good time but that Kipchoge, who is aiming to be the first ever person to claim three Olympic marathon gold medals in Paris next year, was the one who set it.
The manner of how Kiptum demolished it, bettering the time by 36 seconds, proves that nothing is impossible and everything is on the table.
Like in London, Kiptum produced negative splits (60:48 and 59:47) to triumph on the streets of Chicago. That didn’t however mean he started off slowly.
The Kenyan went through 10km in a blistering 28:42 and by the half-way mark only compatriot Daniel Mateiko could stay with him.
To put that into perspective, Kiptum was on world record pace (2:01:05) even after 10km.
It was never likely however that Mateiko, who broke the UK and Irish all-comers’ half-marathon record back in August with 58:36, would stay with Kiptum in the latter stages.
The telling point of the race was when Kiptum produced a phenomenal 5km split of 13:51 between 30-35km. Mateiko fell away and subsequently dropped out of the race.
Kiptum powered on though and as he approached the finish line he blew a kiss to the crowd, waved his hands aloft and became inundated with emotion.
Even Kiptum couldn’t quite believe the…