Village boy Kiptum wipes away Kipchoge's world marathon record in enviable fashion

Kenya's Kelvin Kiptum. [Xinhua]

Like much else in life, athletics, too, has two sides attached to it. Often, the athletes’ form differs from the tale told by the hare during a fireside chat.

Each dwells on triumph and none talks of defeat. Each has versions of great courage and none talks of fear. Each talks of happily-ever-after; none talks of failure.

But all these come into play in the story of Kelvin Kiptum, who last evening shocked the global stage as he erased Eliud Kipchoge’s world marathon mark by 41 seconds at the 45th Chicago Marathon showdown.

He finished his maiden American race in historic fashion, not only winning the 2023 race and beating out defending champion Benson Kipruto, but obliterating Kipchoge's time.

Kiptum, who comes from Chepsamo village in Keiyo South, made a massive splash in his US marathon debut in Chicago and finished with an unofficial time of 2:00:35.

If confirmed, which should, that time would not only beat the Chicago course record set by former world marathon record holder Dennis Kimetto (2:03.45), but also the world record of 2:01:09 set by Eliud Kipchoge.

Kiptum won the 2023 London Marathon in what was only his second-ever marathon race and nearly broke a world record at that time. He finished that race in 2:01:25, just 16 seconds shy of Kipchoge’s world record.

Kiptum had predicted he would break a record in this year's race in Chicago.

"I think if the weather is good, I will go under the current course record," Kiptum said on Friday. And he did even more than that.

"A world record was not in my mind today... but I knew one day, one time I would be a world record holder," Kiptum said at the finish line, adding that he is "very happy." But he defied the odds.

All along the global stage had waited with bated breath to see if Kiptum, who started his childhood education at Kipchawat Primary School in Keiyo North, could continue with his brilliant performances in the 42km race at the 45th Chicago Marathon.

But he proved he’s no stranger to sterling performances. He made his 42km debut at last year’s Valencia Marathon, where he posted an impressive 2:01.53 –the now sixth fastest time in history.

The 23-year-old Kiptum, who trains in Chepkorio in Keiyo South, has also come a long way.

He started running while a pupil at Kipchawat Primary School in Keiyo North Constituency where lived with his uncle. He later relocated to his paternal home and studied at Chepsamo Primary School in Keiyo South.

There were huge expectations that Kiptum, who trains under Golazo Sports Management, could have a rematch with world marathon record holder Eliud Kipchoge at the Berlin Marathon last month.

But the shy-looking Kiptum says he had set his sights on the Chicago Marathon title.

No one could have expected him to set a world record in Chicago, the pancake course with 31 turns –as records often fall at the Berlin Marathon 17 turns, which is a flat course.

In the women’s front, Dutchwoman Sifan Hassan shocked the world in her American marathon debut, setting an unofficial course record in the 2023 Chicago Marathon and beating two-time defending Kenyan champion Ruth Chepng’etich.

Hassan outpaced Chepngetich during the latter stages of the race, stunning a runner who came achingly-close to setting a world record in winning last year's Chicago Marathon.

Hassan, another runner of all seasons –having won medals in 1500m, 5000m and 10,000m – made her marathon debut in London last April and won with a national record.

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