Kelvin Kiptum

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Kelvin Kiptum

Kelvin Kiptum Cheruiyot, born on December 2, 1999, is a Kenyan long-distance runner and the current world record holder in the marathon. He achieved a historic feat by being the only individual in history to complete the marathon distance in under two hours and one minute in a race that met the criteria for record eligibility. Cheruiyot has an impressive track record, with three marathon victories to his name, including two prestigious World Marathon Majors, a remarkable accomplishment spanning from December 2022 to October 2023. During this period, he secured three of the six fastest marathon times ever recorded, as of October 2023. Remarkably, only one performance on a course that met record-eligible standards surpassed Cheruiyot’s career average time of 2 hours, 1 minute, and 18 seconds.

Cheruiyot first gained recognition at the age of 18 when he emerged victorious in the Family Bank Half Marathon held in Eldoret, Kenya, in October 2018. Impressively, he self-coached for this event and clocked a remarkable time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, and 1 second. It was noteworthy that Cheruiyot had previously participated in this race as a much younger teenager, competing in both 2013 and 2014.

In his marathon debut at the 2022 Valencia Marathon, Cheruiyot achieved the fastest ever performance for a debutant in the marathon discipline. He became just the third man in history to break the two-hour and two-minute barrier, setting the fourth-quickest time ever recorded at that time. Four months later, at the 2023 London Marathon, Cheruiyot delivered another stunning performance by completing the race in the second-fastest marathon time in history, clocking in at 2 hours and 1 minute. This effort was only 16 seconds shy of the world record.

Cheruiyot continued his incredible streak at the Chicago Marathon in October 2023, where he made history by shattering the world record by a remarkable 34 seconds. His finishing time of 2 hours and 35 seconds brought him agonizingly close to breaking the 2-hour barrier, as he fell just two seconds short of achieving the unprecedented feat of maintaining an average speed of over 21 km/h for the marathon distance.

Kelvin Kiptum Cheruiyot

Kelvin Kiptum

Nickname

Date of Birth

Country

Sport

Event

Coached

Personal best(s)

Kelvin Kiptum

2 December 1999

Kenya

 Athletics

 Long-distance running

Gervais Hakizimana (2023–)

Marathon: 2:00:35 WR (Chicago 2023)

World Marathon Majors

  • Gold medal – first place 2023 London Marathon
  • Gold medal – first place 2023 Chicago Marathon

Career

In October 2018, at the youthful age of 18, Kelvin Kiptum, who was self-coached, clinched victory in the Family Bank Half Marathon held in Eldoret, his hometown in Kenya. His impressive performance was marked by a finishing time of 1 hour, 2 minutes, and 1 second. It’s worth noting that reports indicated he had previously competed in this event twice as a much younger teenager, participating in the years 2013 and 2014.

Kelvin Kiptum made his international debut at the Lisbon Half Marathon in Portugal in March 2019. In this race, he secured a remarkable fifth-place finish, setting a new personal best time of 59 minutes and 54 seconds. Throughout that year, Kiptum took part in five other races in the northern and western regions of Europe.

In 2020, it was reported that he began working more earnestly with Gervais Hakizimana, the Rwandan record holder in the 3000 meters steeplechase, as his coach. However, it’s worth noting that Kiptum had already trained periodically with Hakizimana and other local athletes since 2013.

By December 2020, at the age of 21, Kiptum achieved consecutive personal bests in the half marathon distance, recording an impressive time of 58 minutes and 42 seconds while finishing in sixth place at the Valencia Half Marathon in Spain.

In 2021, Kiptum continued to shine in the half marathon discipline. He completed two notable races with impressive times, registering 59 minutes and 35 seconds in Lens, France, where he secured first place, and 59 minutes and 2 seconds in Valencia once again, where he finished eighth.

2022: Third man to break 2:02 in marathon

In December, at the age of 23, Kelvin Kiptum achieved a remarkable victory when he made his debut in the classic marathon distance of 42.195 kilometers at the Valencia Marathon. His performance was nothing short of a sensation, as he executed a negative split strategy with the fastest second half time recorded up to that point, clocking in at 60 minutes and 15 seconds. This extraordinary effort resulted in him securing the then fourth-fastest marathon time in history, an impressive 2 hours, 1 minute, and 53 seconds.

Kiptum’s achievement made him only the third man in history to break the two-hour and two-minute barrier in a marathon, following in the footsteps of world record holder Eliud Kipchoge (2:01:09 WR and 2:01:39) and Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41). Notably, Kiptum’s debut marathon performance was by far the fastest ever recorded, shattering the course record by over a minute.

In his victorious run, Kiptum left his competition far behind, beating the runner-up by more than a minute. Even the pre-race favorite and the reigning 2022 world marathon champion, Tamirat Tola, was among those bested by Kiptum’s exceptional performance.

2023: Second Fastest Marathon Performance in History and New World Record

In his subsequent race, a remarkable debut in a World Marathon Major at the London Marathon in April, Kiptum secured a convincing victory with the second-fastest time in history, clocking 2:01:25. This remarkable achievement was just 16 seconds shy of Kipchoge’s world record. Employing a negative split strategy, he pulled ahead of the pack after the 30 km mark and covered the second half of the race in 59:45, marking the fastest half marathon ever run within a full marathon race up to that point. He left his fellow Kenyan, Geoffrey Kamworor, who hails from the same village and had been an inspiration to the young Kiptum, trailing by nearly three minutes and shattered Kipchoge’s course record of 2:02:37 by over a minute.

In his subsequent race, which was his third marathon and his second World Marathon Major, held on October 8 at the Chicago Marathon, Kiptum, still only 23 years old, achieved a groundbreaking world record time of 2:00:35. This performance surpassed Kipchoge’s world standard set in 2022 in Berlin by an astonishing 34 seconds and obliterated the course record by over three minutes. Once again, Kiptum adopted a negative split approach with a first half time of 60:48 and a rapid second half covered in 59:47. Notably, he recorded a blazing 13:51 from 30k to 35k at an astounding pace of 2:47, equivalent to 21.66 km/h. This feat brought his total time from 30k to 40k to 27:52. Kiptum left his compatriot, Benson Kipruto, who secured the runner-up position, trailing by nearly three and a half minutes.

Training Regimen

After Kiptum’s historic achievement in October 2023, his coach shared details about the athlete’s training program. According to Gervais Hakizimana, Kiptum maintained a rigorous routine, covering 250 to 280 km (155-173 mi) each week in preparation for the London Marathon in April of that year. His typical schedule involved daily morning runs spanning 25-28 km, track or fartlek workouts on both Tuesdays and Saturdays, and demanding long runs of 30-40 km at a pace nearly matching marathon speed, which were conducted on Thursdays and Sundays.

Achievements

Data sourced from the World Athletics profile and rankings is included herein. It’s important to note that personal bests are presented with their current status. Additionally, the statuses and positions on the all-time top list, as indicated in the competition record section, are reflective of the dates when they were achieved. For course record statuses, the information aligns with the sources cited within the article.

  • 10,000 metres – 28:27.87 (Stockholm 2021)
  • 10 kilometres – 28:17 (Utrecht 2019)
  • Half marathon – 58:42 (Valencia 2020)
  • Marathon – 2:00:35 (Chicago 2023) World record

Year Competition Venue Position Event Time
2022 Valencia Marathon Valencia, Spain 1st Elite Platinum marathon 2:01:53
2023 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 1st World Marathon Majors 2:01:25
2023 Chicago Marathon Chicago, IL, United States 1st World Marathon Majors 2:00:35

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