Kelvin Kiptum has officially become the heir apparent to Eliud Kipchoge. The 23-year-old Kenyan continued his yearlong assault on the marathon this Sunday morning on the streets of Chicago with a new world record of 2:00:35.
Amid optimal cool weather and cloudy skies, Kiptum turned in a masterful effort as he surged away from pacesetter Daniel Kibet Mateiko over the final six miles of the race to win the Chicago Marathon and break Kipchoge’s previous mark of 2:01:09 set at the 2022 Berlin Marathon. Kiptum averaged 4:36 per mile but ran much faster over the second half, which included a 4:21 mile.
It was a fast day across the board in Chicago. Ethiopian-born Dutch runner Sifan Hassan was nearly as electrifying in winning the women’s race in 2:13:44 (or 5:06 pace per mile), the second-fastest time in history to the 2:11:53 world record Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa set in Berlin two weeks ago.
Although Kiptum had previously run 2:01:53 in Valencia last December and 2:01:25 in London in April, he said he wasn’t necessarily targeting a new world record. He came through the halfway point in 1:00:48—slightly slower than Kipchoge’s world record pace—but he summoned the energy to run faster over the final miles of the race and closed in a negative split of 59:47 over the second half of the course.
Kipchoge, the two-time Olympic champion, won the Berlin Marathon in 2:02:42 on September 24. Kipchoge, Kiptum, and Ethiopia’s Kenenisa Bekele are the only runners to have ever broken the 2:02 plateau, but Kiptum is the first to run under 2:01 in an official marathon. Kipchoge has famously run 2:00:25 in 2017 and 1:59:40 in 2019 in time trial races in which he was aided by unconventional pacing methods.
“I Knew One Day I Will Be a World Record Holder”
“A world record was not in my mind today,” Kiptum said on NBC Chicago. “But I knew one day I will be a world record holder.”
Kiptum looked strong and smooth as he built a 90-second gap over countryman Benson Kipruto, last year’s Chicago Marathon champion, during the first half of the race. Kipruto also surged after the halfway point to finish second place in a new personal best of 2:04:02, while Belgium’s Bashir Abdi was third in 2:04:32.
Americans Conner Mantz and Clayton Young turned in stellar days and new personal bests, finishing sixth (2:07:47) and seventh (2:08:00), respectively, as they became the first American men to surpass the 2024 Olympic qualifying standard (2:08:10). Mantz, 26, and Young, 30, are former Brigham Young University teammates and current training partners from Provo, Utah, where they continue to train under their college coach Ed Eyestone.
Mantz came through the first half in 1:03:21 and admitted after the race he struggled a bit over the final two miles but still lowered his personal best by 29 seconds after running a 1:04:26 second-half split.
“It was great. I had great help from the pacers, we had great weather, and it was a great day to run,” Mantz said. “I felt really strong through about 38K [mile 23.6] and things kind of fell apart, but I’m happy to come away with a new PB.”
American legend Galen Rupp, the 2016 Olympic bronze medalist and 2017 Chicago Marathon champion, proved he’s still among the top U.S. runners, finishing 11th (2:08:48) as the third American.
Women’s Race Proves Lightning Fast
Running the second marathon of her career, Hassan outran Kenya’s Ruth Chepngetich (2:15:37) over the second half of the course to secure the victory. Both women had been on world record pace through the halfway point, with Chepngetich holding a six-second advantage as she came through in 1:05:42.
But Hassan was stronger over the final miles, clocking a 1:07:56 second-half split to Chepngetich’s 1:09:55. The 30-year-old Hassan, who made her debut at 26.2 miles in London in April with a 2:18:33 victory, won Chicago six weeks after earning medals in the 1,500- and 5,000-meter events at the track and field world championships in Budapest.
Top American women Emily Sisson and Emma Bates were locked in a duel near American record pace through the first half of the race. They came through the 13.1-mile split in 1:09:31 just off the pace Sisson had run a year ago to lower the American record to 2:18:29. But neither could run that fast over the second half of the course as Sisson closed in 1:12:38 to finish as the top American in 2:22:09, while Bates covered the second half in 1:15:33 and finished in 2:25:04 in 13th place, sixth among U.S. runners.
“It was another amazing day in Chicago,” the 31-year-old Sisson said. “The crowds were electric. I really appreciated the cheers at the end. It felt really good until about mile 18, then I had a side stitch come on and around mile 21 I was really hurting. So all of the ‘Go Emily’ cheers were really appreciated today. I was proud to gut it out and still finish as top American.”
But several Americans turned in really sharp performances. Resurgent Molly Seidel, the bronze medalist in the Tokyo Olympics marathon, was just behind Sisson, finishing eighth in 2:23:07.
Sara Vaughn, a 37-year-old mother of four, placed 10th in a new personal best of 2:23:24 as the third U.S. finisher, followed by Americans Gabriella Rooker (11th, 2:24:35) and Dakotah Windwurm (12th, 2:24:40), who also set new personal records.
Meanwhile, Des Linden, running her first marathon since she turned 40 in July, placed 17th in 2:27:35, lowering the American master’s record by 12 seconds.
Next up for the American runners is the U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon on February 3 in Orlando, Florida. With strong efforts from Mantz, Young, and Rupp, they’ve solidified themselves as the top contenders in the men’s race, along with Scott Fauble, Jared Ward, Leonard Korir, Matt McDonald, and C.J. Albertson. Sisson galvanized herself as the best American marathoner, but Rooker and Windrum are now in the lead group of contenders along with Bates, Keira D’Amato, Betsy Saina, and Lindsay Flanagan.