The 2023 London Marathon on April 23, 2023, was truly an exciting day, particularly in the men’s and women’s elite races.
Both the men’s and women’s 2023 London Marathon champions were younger runners who are new in their careers as marathon runners.
Kelvin Kiptum sets a new Course record
On the men’s side, 23-year-old Kelvin Kiptum nearly broke the men’s marathon world record, clocking in at a blazing 2:01:25.
This second-fastest marathon performance in history was just 16 seconds of Eliud Kipchoge’s 2:01:09 marathon world record that he set at the 2022 Berlin Marathon.
It is also a new course record for the London Marathon.
For such a young runner, Kiptum is certainly showing tremendous promise, and his performance at the 2023 London Marathon calls into question whether he will be able to take down Kipchoge’s world record marathon performance in a fall marathon (perhaps the Berlin Marathon, where the last eight men’s marathon world records have occurred), or even break the 2-hour barrier in a true world record-eligible marathon in the coming year or two.
Kiptum made his marathon debut just five months ago in December 2022, when he surprised nearly everyone when he won the Valencia Marathon in 2:01:53.
This time was not only the fastest marathon debut ever, but also landed the Kenyan runner in the number three spot on the list of the all-time fastest marathon performances in the world behind Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele.
Kiptum came from a track background where he was successful but did not earn any Olympic or World Championship medals.
In 2018, Kelvin Kiptum transitioned to the roads.
In the 2023 London Marathon, Kiptum hung with the leaders until the 19-mile mark and then he broke away, throwing in a decisive surge.
In fact, he dropped the pace to a speedy 4:23 for mile 20 and crushed the 5k between 35K to 40K in 14:01.
Kiptum ran impressive negative splits in the race (a faster second half) as he ran the second half marathon in 59:45 after coming through the half (13.1-mile mark) in 61:40.
His final kick down the stretch on The Mall is evidence of the fact that he knew he was likely close to Kipchoge’s world record since no other runners were in sight.
Kiptum broke the London Marathon finish line tape in 2:01:25, collapsing on the ground in exhaustion.
Geoffrey Kamworor, a two-time New York City Marathon champion, came in second, improving his marathon PR to 2:04:23.
Farah’s Last Hurrah
There was a lot of pre-race attention on the legendary Mo Farah, who had announced that the 2023 London Marathon would be his last marathon as a professional runner.
He capped this part of his career with a ninth-place finish and a time of 2:10:28.
Mo Farah has said that his final race as a professional runner is slated to be the Great North Run on September 10.
Sifan Hassan Wins Womens Race
The 2023 London Marathon women’s champion was Eithiopian-born Dutch runner Sifan Hassan, who had an incredible performance in her marathon debut.
Hassan has had an amazing career as a distance runner thus far, including being a triple-medal winner at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where she won gold medals in both the 5000 meters and 10,000 meters and earned a bronze medal for the 1500 meters.
However, her 2023 London Marathon victory was not only her first win in a major marathon but her first stab at any marathon.
In what can only be called one of the best marathon kicks and strong finishes in history, Sifan Hassan sprinted to the finish in a time of 2:18:33.
Critics could argue that Sifan Hassan had a far-from-perfect race, in that she had to stop twice toward the end due to minor niggles, yet anyone who has run a marathon before will likely attest that winning the London Marathon in your marathon debut is nothing shy of perfect.
Hassan admits she was incredibly nervous before the race, but her victory demonstrates that she clearly didn’t let pre-race anxiety overwhelm her performance.
One thing that makes Hassan’s London Marathon finish particularly remarkable is that she is a practicing Muslim and has been fasting for Ramadan.
The runner-up in the 2023 London Marathon was 25-year-old Ethiopian runner, Alemu Megertu. Megertu improved upon her podium position in the London Marathon last year, where she finished third.
In her second-place finish in the 2023 London Marathon, Megertu ran 2:18:37, which was five seconds slower than her 2022 London Marathon time.
Peres Jepchirchir finished third in 2:18:398, after battling a year of injuries in 2022.
You can follow Sifan Hassan on her Instagram account as she gears up for her track season, and plans on competing at the World Championships in Budapest in August.
You can also keep up with Kelvin Kiptum on his Instagram here.
You can find the full results of the London Marathon here.