Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum became the first athlete to break 2:01 in a record-eligible marathon, clocking a tremendous 2:00:35* to take 34 seconds off the world record at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday (8).
On a remarkable day of racing, Dutch star Sifan Hassan moved to No.2 on the women’s all-time list, running 2:13:44 to triumph in the World Athletics Platinum Label road race.
Less than six months on from his 2:01:25 London Marathon win, which saw him become the second-fastest marathon runner of all time, Kiptum improved by another 50 seconds to surpass the world record mark of 2:01:09 set by his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin last year.
In the third marathon of his career, which began with a 2:01:53 debut in Valencia last December, Kiptum even had enough energy to celebrate his historic performance on the way to the finish line – pointing to the crowds and the finish on his approach to the tape.
He broke it in 2:00:35, winning the race by almost three and a half minutes. Benson Kipruto was second in 2:04:02 and Bashir Abdi was third in 2:04:32.
Kiptum pushed the pace throughout the 26.2-mile race. He broke away from a seven-strong lead group after reaching 5km in 14:26, joined only by his compatriot Daniel Mateiko, who was making his marathon debut. They were on world record pace at 10km, passed in 28:42, but the tempo dropped a little from that point and they reached half way in 1:00:48.
Kiptum had been running in a hat but that came off as they entered the second half of the race. After 30km was passed in 1:26:31, Kiptum kicked and dropped Mateiko. He was glancing over his shoulder but running like he still had the world record – not only the win – in his sights.
A blistering 5km split of 13:51 took him to the 35km checkpoint in 1:40:22 and he was on sub-2:01 pace, 49 seconds ahead of Mateiko.
Continuing to run with urgency, he passed 40km in 1:54:23 and sped up further, storming over the finish line with the incredible figures of 2:00:35 on the clock.
“I knew I was coming for a course record, but a world record – I am so happy,” he said. “A world record was not on my mind today, but I knew one day I would be a world record-holder.”
*Subject to the usual ratification procedure