The Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum, still unknown a year ago, achieved the feat of erasing the world record for the marathon of his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge on Sunday at Chicago in 2 hours 00 minutes and 35 seconds.
Already close to beating the old record (2h01:09 by Kipchoge in Berlin in 2022) in London in April, Kiptum, aged 23, was only competing in his third marathon in Illinois, but without Kipchoge, winner in Berlin in September. A duel is possible at the Paris Olympic Games in 2024.
By subtracting 34 seconds from his elder brother's time, Kiptum has just redefined the limits of the premier event of road racing. Still fresh upon arrival in Chicago, where he greeted the crowds with kisses in the final stretch, his strength and youth make him a candidate to run the first official marathon in less than two hours.
Kipchoge had succeeded in this bet during an unofficial event organized for him in Vienna in 2019 (1h59:40). The two men, who hold eight of the ten fastest times in history, are supporting the running revolution after the arrival of new generation shoes in 2016. They both wore a new model from their equipment manufacturer this fall. /p>
In Chicago, passed in 1 hour and 48 seconds at the halfway mark, Kiptum managed as usual to accelerate in the second half (59:47) to let go of his compatriot Daniel Mateiko at the 33rd kilometer, before flying towards the finish line, in perfect weather conditions (between 7 and 10 degrees, overcast weather, light wind).
“I wasn't necessarily ready for that, but a world record, I am so happy! I knew I would beat this record one day,” said the winner.
“When I saw the time in front of me I felt so good, with an adrenaline rush. “
– Hassan tireless –
Sifan Hassan and Kelvin Kiptum in Chicago on October 8, 2023 © AFP – KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI
Less than a year after his first marathon in Valencia (2h01:53 in December 2022), Kiptum slapped the clock of the greatest runner in history, against whom he has never run, over the queen distance. Eliud Kipchoge, aged 38, had triumphed after a career built in stages, first on the track until he was 27.
A few minutes after the Kenyan, the Dutch Sifan Hassan succeeded another feat by signing the second best time in history in 2 h 13 min 44 sec, only six weeks after winning two medals at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest (silver in the 5000 m, bronze in the 1500 m).
All just two weeks after the unprecedented world record of the Ethiopian Tigst Assefa in Berlin in 2 h 11 min 53 sec, she with the new shoe from a competing equipment manufacturer.
Kiptum's record, who won his only three contested marathons, all supersonic, in eleven months, is less of a surprise than his emergence in December 2022 in Valencia (2h01:53).
– “The adventure” –
Kiptum trains near his village of origin, Chepkorio (west), about forty kilometers from Eldoret, a mecca for Kenyan running, led by Rwandan Gervais Hakizimana.
This former national level runner, French resident who competed in races in France between 2008 and 2019, met Kiptum during his training stays in Kenya, as he told AFP on Saturday.
“When we did hill climbing sessions in the forest near his home, he was small but followed us, barefoot, after tending the goats and sheep. It was in 2013, he hadn't really started climbing yet. running.”
Kelvin Kiptum on October 8, 2023 in Chicago © AFP – KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI
Kiptum started running regularly in 2016. In 2019, he completed two very fast half marathons in two weeks (60:48 in Copenhagen then 59:53 in Belfort, France), when Mr. Hakizimana offered to coach him for the marathon .
“In 2020 the Covid locked me up in Kenya, I stayed there for a year and I trained him in the forest. I ran with him, then we started a marathon program in 2021”, adds the Rwandan, reached by telephone.
“I made discreet visits to Kipchoge to see how he trained,” he smiles.
While Kipchoge runs between 180 and 220 km per week, Kiptum swallows more than 250 km per week, sometimes more than 300, assures his coach.
“It's the adventure! During the preparation for London we chained three weeks to more of 300 km. It has a very large volume”, adds the technician, who speaks in Swahili and English with his protégé.
“At this rate he risks injuring himself, breaking, I told him offered to lower the pace but he doesn't want to, he talks to me about the world record all the time.”
A goal achieved by the new athletics star on Sunday.
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