Kelvin Kiptum, 23

World Record Holder


Kelvin is a young man on a mission. Perhaps sports historians can as well as pick up their notebooks ready to write his script that could change marathon races forever.

Less than a year ago, Kiptum was nowhere near the high table where great stories were being told about marathons.

Arguably, the hottest story then was of the Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge, who had just broken his own world record with a new time of two hours, one minute and nine seconds.

However, that script has changed and Kiptum, who will be turning 24 on December 2, is the new sheriff in town out to rewrite marathon history.

"Kiptum rewrote history books when he smashed the London Marathon course record, winning this year’s race in 1:01:25 on April 23."

Kipchoge had cemented his name in the annals of marathon running history with his phenomenal performances. He shattered compatriot Dennis Kimetto’s world record of 2:02:57 with a new time of 2:01:57 in 2018, becoming the first man to run a marathon under two hours two minutes.

In May 2019, a few days after his London Marathon win in a course record time of 2:02:37, Kipchoge announced another take on the sub-two-hour marathon, the Ineos 1:59 Challenge.

Kipchoge clocked 1:59:40 during the race that was staged at Vienna’s Prater Park on October 12, 2019, becoming the first person in recorded history to break the two-hour barrier over a marathon distance.

However, the time could not be ratified as a world record since he had no other competitors, and with the assistance of fuel and hydration on demand, and in-out pacemakers.

Last year, Kipchoge set down his own world record, winning in Berlin in 2:01:09.

Kiptum, who made his first appearance at the 2019 Rotterdam Marathon as a pacer, would run in his first full marathon in Valencia in December last year, winning in 2:01:53.

That saw Kiptum become the fastest marathon debutante and also the third fastest marathoner in history after Kipchoge (2:01:09) and Kenenisa Bekele (2:01:41).

That landscape would change in less than one year.

Kiptum rewrote history books when he smashed the London Marathon course record, winning this year’s race in 1:01:25 on April 23. Kipchoge held the previous record of 2:02:37 from 2019.

Then came the moment when he shattered the marathon world record when he won the Chicago Marathon in two hours and 35 seconds on October 8 this year.

Kiptum took away 34 seconds from the previous marathon world record of 2:01:09 set by Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin last year.

Then came the announcement almost three weeks ago that has now kept the world on the edge with excitement.

Kiptum hopes to make history at the NN Rotterdam Marathon on April 14, next year when he attempts what many dimmed as impossible and a wild dream…running a marathon under two hours.

“I will try at least to beat my world record here. I know I’m capable of doing that, if my preparation works out well and the conditions are OK,” said Kiptum before hitting the nail on the head.

“And in that case, I will get close to the sub-2 hours barrier, so why not aim to break it? That might look ambitious, but I’m not afraid of setting these kinds of goals. There’s no limit to human energy,” said the athlete from Chepkorio, Elgeyo Marakwet.

“We haven’t started serious training in our quest to make history, but we should in the first week of December,” said Kiptum’s coach Gervias Hakizimana.

Ayumba Ayodi