Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum (2h 1m 25s) remains in the London marathon 16 seconds behind Eliud Kipchoge’s world record | Sports

Jenaro Talens writes of the loneliness of an inexplicable world, of living it without shocks, and describes the rainy morning in London on a Sunday in April and the last walk at the pace of a marathon, three minutes per kilometer, a few seconds more, of Mo Farah, an inexplicable athlete, like the world, alone, who says goodbye as soon as he turns 40. From Greenwich and its gardens to the Mall via the Tower Bridge, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the favorite walk for tourists. A journey from loneliness to loneliness for Mo Farah, a Somali boy sold to a London family when he was nine, child slave labor, redemption, greatness, through sport.

Six times world champion, four times Olympic champion in 5,000m and 10,000m, European record holder in all distances, from 1,500m to the marathon, no British athlete has won so much, king of the London 2012 Games, and there he was overshadowed Usain Bolt at the top, the most beloved of his British fans and, at the moment of farewell, almost forgotten, and when they speak or write about him they do it to remind him of his bad friends, the Cuban-American coach Alberto Salazar, condemned and suspended for malpractice and harassment, the Somali coach Jama Aden, investigated by the Mossos d’Esquadra for doping when he was training with his group in Sabadell, his mysterious disappearances from Font Romeu… The sixth marathon finished by Mo Farah, proud with the shirt of the British team, it is the first in which it exceeds 2h and 10m (2h 10m 27s).

Forgetting is fast and it is accelerated on the same morning of San Jorge by the marathon winners, extraordinary. All the power for them, for the Dutch of Ethiopian origin Sifan Hassan, who could be the female version of Mo Farah: born in Africa, educated in Europe, queen of the track, also trained by Salazar, double Olympic champion of 5,000m and 10,000 m, double world champion, who at the age of 30 makes her debut in the marathon. She does it in one of the big six, the one in London. She does so by winning after at kilometer 20 she was about to stop with what seemed like excruciating pain in her left hip. Twice he stopped to stretch the muscle, crossing his left leg over his right knee, twice linked with the best, who were extraordinary, the Olympic champion in Tokyo 2020 (Sapporo 2021), the Kenyan Peres Jepchirchir, and the last winner in London, the Ethiopian Yelamzerf Yehualaw. As she won the Tokyo 1500m after tripping and falling and coming back, so she defeated Ethiopian Alemu Megertu and Jepchirchir on the Mall, and her 500m sprint could be seen from Buckingham palace, a her back. Her time, 2h 18m 33s.

The athlete Sifan Hassan, after crossing the finish line in London.
The athlete Sifan Hassan, after crossing the finish line in London. TOLGA AKMEN (EFE)

Those who, a few minutes later, looked out on the balcony to see the end of the men’s race would barely have time to see fleeting, accelerated lightning in the gray morning and on the soaked asphalt, the incredible figure of Kelvin Kiptum, a 23-year-old Kenyan , born with the century. Given his arrival, seen his time (2h 1m 25s), the London record that he snatches from Eliud Kipchoge (2h 2m 37s), the second best time in history after the world record (2h 1m 9s) by Kipchoge also, acquires prophetic value almost the defeat of Kipchoge himself, the greatest marathon runner in history, on Monday in the Boston marathon, and, even more so, the presence of Kipchoge himself and his orange raincoat at the exit from London, in a pulpit before a button with shaped like a mushroom that squeezes intensely to give the starting horn to Kiptum and thousands of other marathon runners, who wake up to the sound of the siren. He gives the exit to the future, to the new Kipchoge who will inherit his treasures. And, a special witness, Kenenisa Bekele, another of the great long-distance runners in history, also 40 years old, is among the competitors, and also one of the only three, with Kiptum and Kipchoge, who has gone down from 2h 2m.

Kiptum revealed himself in December at the Valencia marathon, in a race held under ideal conditions in which he, a rookie in the distance, won with a time of 2h 1m 53s. And those who understand athletics did not know what had impressed them more about the lanky and light athlete, his clear stride without apparent effort, the little movement of his arms, the economy of gestures, whether the final mark or the fact that he was faster in the second part. A second half marathon of 60m 15s (with the 10,000m between kilometers 30 and 40 in 28m 5s), and no one had ever run that second half more than him. If that mark took away the hiccups and forced many to rub their eyes, what he did in London left everyone blank, and the statisticians in a mess. Accompanied by Geoffrey Kamworor and Amos Kipruto and behind the hares, Kiptum covered the first 21,098m in 1h 1m 40s, which means that he fell below the hour, exactly 59m 45s, in the second half marathon, a time he began to work with a fierce attack at kilometer 30 (28m 5s, 10,000m from 30 to 40; 13m 49s, 5,000m from 35 to 40…), the same medicine from Valencia corrected and increased in one of the most prestigious marathons. Kamworor arrived almost three minutes later (one kilometer away), in 2h 4m 23s, and the third, Kipruto, took 2h 4m 59s.

Kelvin Kiptum, after crossing the finish line.
Kelvin Kiptum, after crossing the finish line.TOLGA AKMEN (EFE)

And Kiptum, who trains alone in Chepkorio, just outside Eldoret, the distance running capital of the world in Kenya’s Rift Valley, still came sprinting to the Mall, raising murmurs of anticipation because, for a few agonizing hectometres, it even seemed that he could break a world record that is considered impossible, that of the great Kipchoge, and he stayed 16 seconds behind, no more than 100 meters after traveling 42.195…

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