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World record holder Kelvin Kiptum reveals his next marathon

The world's fastest marathoner will not be heading to an Abbott World Marathon Major for his next race

Kelvin Kiptum Photo by: Kevin Morris

It’s been almost a month since Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum stunned the world with his record-breaking two-hour and 35-second marathon to win the Chicago Marathon, but the new world record holder is already looking ahead to chase that sub-two barrier in 2024.

It was announced on Friday that Kiptum’s next race will be the Rotterdam Marathon, on April 14, 2024. 

Kelvin Kiptum
Photo: Kevin Morris

Many thought Kiptum would choose to return to London to await selection from Team Kenya for the Paris Olympic marathon in August, or maybe aim for the record of becoming the first man to run sub-two in Berlin in September.

Why Rotterdam?

Although Rotterdam isn’t one of the Abbott World Marathon Majors, the course is known to be flat and fast. The course record is held by Belgium marathoner Bashir Abdi (2:03:36), set in 2021 only three months before he won bronze in the marathon at the Tokyo Olympic Games. Kiptum will be eager to lower Abdi’s course record and to give the two-hour barrier a shot.

There are many reasons why Rotterdam is the perfect fit for Kiptum, instead of returning to London to defend his 2023 title. Rotterdam is one week earlier than London, which would give him, ideally, 16 weeks to recover and train for the Olympic marathon, instead of a tighter 15-week turnaround.

The Rotterdam course is flatter, with around 100m in elevation gain, as opposed to London’s 145m. Kiptum’s manager, Belgium’s Marc Corstjens, is also in charge of putting together the elite field in Rotterdam, which this year will attract top talent chasing the men’s Olympic qualification standard of 2:08:10. And it just happens to be two and a half weeks before the Olympic qualification window closes.

A star in the making

Twelve months ago, the running world had no idea who Kiptum was. Then he made his jaw-dropping debut at the 2022 Valencia Marathon, with a lightning-fast time of 2:01:53–the third-fastest marathon in history and the fastest debut of all time.

He continued his winning streak in April at the 2023 London Marathon, lowering his personal best to 2:01:25 and breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s course record by more than a minute.

Kelvin Kiptum
Photo: Kevin Morris

It was in Chicago where Kiptum etched his name in the history books, clocking 2:00:35 to break Kipchoge’s world marathon record of 2:01:09, in only his third attempt at the distance.

Kipchoge has been the only man to run under the two-hour barrier, but he did so under ideal conditions, with numerous pacers, in a non-sanctioned race. Rotterdam will present an opportunity for Kiptum to break a barrier that, until recently, the athletics world thought was unbreachable.

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