Chicago, United States, Oct 9 (EFE).- As a youngster in Kenya, Kelvin Kiptum grew up watching and daydreaming about the exploits of his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge. This Sunday in Chicago, the boy surpassed the master and sealed a new world record in the world marathon, by stopping the stopwatch in 2 hours and 35 seconds.
“When I was young I’d see Eliud training, so I was like ‘Maybe one day I’ll be like Kipchoge.’ He has been a role model to us,” said the 23-year-old Kiptum, who made history in his Chicago debut by breaking the world record set by the 38-year-old Kipchoge (2:01:09).
Still trying to comprehend the magnitude of his achievement, he had just returned to his downtown Chicago hotel, on Michigan Avenue and steps from Grant Park, where just minutes earlier he had won the second major of his career after London last April.
“I feel so happy. I’m so grateful to run a world record here in Chicago,” Kiptum told EFE.
“I love the city, I love the crowd cheering on the course. Yeah, I feel so happy,” added the new world record holder.
From the moment he crossed the finish line, Kiptum was in the spotlight, posing for photos and making statements to the televisions in the finish area.
“Yeah, after the win I got a lot of questions, a lot of attention. No, I wasn’t planning to break the record,” said the Kenyan athlete.
He wowed the fans with a dominant performance in the Windy City, making the most of the ideal weather conditions, with nine degrees Celsius and cloudy skies at the start of the race. But it was his astonishing pace in the final seven kilometers that allowed him to cross the finish line with his arms in the air.
Kiptum was the favorite to take the Chicago throne from his compatriot Benson Kipruto, the 2022 champion, but he also came to Chicago with external pressure to seal a new great record after finishing 16 seconds behind Kipchoge’s record in London.
Always very calm, quiet, and thoughtful, Kiptum denied that the next goal is to break the two-hour barrier in a marathon, but he did admit that he dreams of competing in the Paris Games in 2024.
“I’ve been dreaming of running the Olympics so if I get a chance I’ll represent my country,” he said.
With his stunning victory in Chicago, Kiptum pocketed a $100,000 check for the win and another $50,000 for setting the race record.
“My country, Kenya, I feel so happy to run a world record today in Chicago,” Kiptum concluded with a message to his country.
The new marathon king will now take a few days off and return to Kenya before resuming his preparations for the next goals of his season. EFE