Report08 Oct 2023

Kiptum smashes world marathon record with 2:00:35, Hassan runs 2:13:44 in Chicago


Kelvin Kiptum runs a world record of 2:00:35 to win the Chicago Marathon (© Getty Images)

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. The only woman to have ever gone faster is Ethiopia’s Tigist Assefa, who set a world record of 2:11:53 to win the BMW Berlin Marathon last month.

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 tape on his approach.

The 23-year-old broke that tape in 2:00:35, winning the race by almost three and a half minutes. Defending champion 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 – after a 27:52 10km split – 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.”

Despite only having made his marathon debut 10 months ago, Kiptum now has three of the six fastest times in history to his name. Only Kipchoge (with 2:01:09 and 2:01:39) and Kenenisa Bekele (with 2:01:41) have ever gone faster than the slowest of Kiptum’s times.

Mateiko had helped to pace Kiptum to his 2:01:25 win in London, running to the 30km mark. The pair stayed together until that point in Chicago, too, but Mateiko couldn’t maintain the pace and dropped out after reaching 35km in 1:41:11.

Kenya’s Kipruto used his experience of the course to leave the chase group behind after 35km and was a comfortable runner-up in 2:04:02, finishing half a minute ahead of Belgium’s world and Olympic bronze medallist Abdi.

Kenya’s John Korir was fourth in 2:05:09, Ethiopia’s Seifu Tura fifth in 2:05:29 and USA’s Conner Mantz sixth in 2:07:47.

Hassan adds to her legend with 2:13:44 marathon

In the women’s race, Hassan returned to marathon action just six weeks on from a World Championships track medal double that saw her claim 1500m bronze and 5000m silver in Budapest.

Sifan Hassan celebrates her winning 2:13:44 run in Chicago

Sifan Hassan celebrates her winning 2:13:44 run in Chicago (© Getty Images)

She was up against a field including the defending champion Ruth Chepngetich of Kenya, who was on the hunt for a record third win in Chicago following her 2:14:18 victory last year.

It soon became apparent that it would be those two athletes challenging for the title. After going through 5km in 15:42 as part of a pack that also featured Kenya’s Joyciline Jepkosgei and Ethiopia’s Megertu Alemu and Ababel Yeshaneh, Chepngetich and Hassan broke away with a next 5km split of 15:23 and reached 10km in 31:05 – on pace to break the recently-set world record.

They ran a 10km split of 30:54 between 5km and 15km, that point passed in 46:36, and they maintained that world record pace to 20km, reached in 1:02:14.

Chepngetich had opened up a six-second gap by half way, clocking 1:05:42 to Hassan’s 1:05:48, but Hassan would have surely felt no concern. On her debut in London in April, after all, she closed a 25-second gap on the leaders despite stopping to stretch twice, and went on to win in 2:18:33.

In a race of superb depth, Alemu, Jepkosgei and Yeshaneh were still on 2:14:52 pace at that point as they hit half way together in 1:07:26.

Hassan soon rejoined Chepngetich at the front and they ran side by side through 25km in 1:18:06. Then it was Hassan’s turn to make a move. Unable to maintain the pace, Chepngetich had dropped 10 seconds behind by 30km, reached by Hassan in 1:34:00, and from there the win never looked in doubt. The Dutch athlete was half a minute ahead at 35km (1:50:17) and she had more than doubled that lead by 40km (2:06:36).

Hassan was on track to obliterate her PB and also the course record of 2:14:04 set by Brigid Kosgei in 2019, which had been the world record until Assefa’s 2:11:53 performance last month.

She held on to cross the finish line in 2:13:44, a European record by almost two minutes. With her latest performance, the versatile Hassan is now the second-fastest woman in history for the track mile, 10,000m and marathon.

“The first group took off at a crazy pace, but I wanted to join that group,” said Hassan. “The last five kilometres, I suffered. Wow ­– I won again in my second marathon in a fantastic time. I couldn't be happier.”

Behind her, Chepngetich held on for second place in 2:15:37 as the top four all finished under 2:18 – Alemu placing third in 2:17:09 and Jepkosgei finishing fourth in 2:17:23. Ethiopia’s Tadu Teshome was fifth in 2:20:04, her compatriot Genzebe Dibaba sixth in 2:21.47 and USA’s Emily Sisson seventh in 2:22:09.

Leading results

1 Sifan Hassan (NED) 2:13:44
2 Ruth Chepngetich (KEN) 2:15:37
3 Megertu Alemu (ETH) 2:17:09
4 Joyciline Jepkosgei (KEN) 2:17:23
5 Tadu Teshome (ETH) 2:20:04
6 Genzebe Dibaba (ETH) 2:21:47
7 Emily Sisson (USA) 2:22:09
8 Molly Seidel (USA) 2:23:07
9 Rose Harvey (GBR) 2:23:21
10 Sara Vaughn (USA) 2:23:24

1 Kelvin Kiptum (KEN) 2:00:35
2 Benson Kipruto (KEN) 2:04:02
3 Bashir Abdi (BEL) 2:04:32
4 John Korir (KEN) 2:05:09
5 Seifu Tura (ETH) 2:05:29
6 Conner Mantz (USA) 2:07:47
7 Clayton Young (USA) 2:08:00
8 Galen Rupp (USA) 2:08:48
9 Samuel Chelanga (USA) 2:08:50
10 Takashi Ichida (JPN) 2:08:57

*Subject to the usual ratification procedure

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