What you need to know:
- Kiptum, 23, produced the fastest marathon debut in history when he claimed victory in Valencia in two hours, one minute and 53 seconds in December.
- The time ranks him just below two-time Olympic marathon champion Kipchoge, who holds the world record time of 2:01:09 and Ethiopia’s legend Kenenisa Bekele with 2:01:41.
Kelvin Kiptum will be out return home with victory and not the world record when this year’s London Marathon goes down on Sunday in the British capital.
“My mission here in London is to win, not to focus on a world record,” said Kiptum while replying to questions during the pre-race press conference at the London Hilton Metropole on Thursday.
Kiptum, 23, produced the fastest marathon debut in history when he claimed victory in Valencia in two hours, one minute and 53 seconds in December.
The time ranks him just below two-time Olympic marathon champion Kipchoge, who holds the world record time of 2:01:09 and Ethiopia’s legend Kenenisa Bekele with 2:01:41.
Kiptum hopes his good results will catch the eyes of the national team selectors ahead of the World Athletics Championships scheduled for August 19 to 27 this year in Budapest, Hungary.
“I will be happy if I get a chance to go to Budapest,” said Kiptum.
“I knew I would run a good race in Valencia having gone under one hour in several races. I was expecting to run sub-2:03 but the performance in Valencia came as a surprise,“ explained Kiptum.
Kiptum was accompanied by the defending champion Amos Kipruto and reigning world marathon champion Tamirat Tola from Ethiopia.
Kipruto acknowledged that this year’s London Marathon has a tough field compared to last year but hastened that he is ready for what he described as a "good and beautiful race."
“I am in similar shape as when I won the race on my debut last year, having undertaken the same training program provided by my coach Claudio Berardelli,” said Kipruto.
Kipruto has been training in Kapsabet alongside Evans Chebet, who retained his Boston Marathon title on Monday and the 2021 Boston Marathon champion Benson Kipruto, who finished third in the same race.
Unlike Kiptum, who made his ambitions clear ahead of the world event in Budapest, Kipruto, the 2019 world marathon bronze medallist, downplayed the topic opting to focus on London Marathon title defence.
“For now, my mind is on Sunday’s race. It was quite breathtaking when I made the turn at Buckingham Palace to wild cheers from the crowd and I hope for such moments again,” said Kipruto.
Kipruto said that the warm reception along the route from the cheering fans inspired him to push harder for his maiden World Marathon Majors (WMM) victory in London last year.
Asked about the doping situation in the country, Kipruto said that the menace has brought shame and embarrassment to the country but hailed steps taken by the Kenyan government, Athletics Kenya and Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) to curb the vice.