World record-holder Kelvin Kiptum is widely expected to become the first runner in history to run a record-eligible sub-two-hour marathon, but when he does, he will be recording it with a watch no one has ever heard of.
The Kenyan has had a sudden and spectacular ascent to become the fastest marathoner of all time. In just a couple of years, he’s gone from a virtual unknown to becoming the heir apparent to Eliud Kipchoge (who previously held the marathon world record).
His world record of 2:00:35 in Chicago last October is less than a second per kilometre away from running sub-two.
Kiptum is now capitalizing on that success. He’s become a cornerstone athlete for Nike, and now he’s nailed down a surprising sponsorship deal with the Chinese wearables company Amazfit.
This is a well-timed alliance, as Amazfit will have its Cheetah Pro model on the runner’s wrist at the upcoming Rotterdam Marathon, which is being touted as Kiptum’s best shot at becoming the first person to officially break the two-hour barrier in a marathon.
Presumably, he will also be selected to represent Kenya at this summer’s Summer Olympics.
Another surefire athlete for Team Kenya in Paris, Eliud Kipchoge, will be racing the Tokyo Marathon next month. It is unclear if the 39 year old will take a shot at breaking the two-hour mark in advance of Kiptum’s April attempt.
Kipchoge, too, has a watch sponsorship deal, but his is with upstart brand Coros.
For Amazfit, which technology site The Verge described as a “budget” brand, this is a play for legitimacy and credibility within the hardcore running community, coming at an opportune time, so long as everything goes according to plan for Kiptum.
Amazfit is positioning the Cheetah Pro as a premium product, with all the bells and whistles needed to train at the higest level.
In a press release, the company boats an AI coaching tool, along with a dual-band circularly-polarized GPS antenna, which it claims has 99.5% accuracy.
Ironically, that 0.5% margin of error over the course of 2:00:35 is exactly 1:59:59.
Amazfit says this wearable promises to enhance Kiptum’s training regimen, offering personalized insights and guidance to optimize performance, although the Kenyan’s coach has already revealed Kiptum’s jaw-dropping training routine, which will peak at around 280 kilometres per week.
No doubt, the Cheetah Pro will be suggesting the runner is “overtraining.”
In addition to the Cheetah Pro, Kiptum said in a press release that he’ll use another Amazfit product, called the Helio Ring, to enhance his recovery process.
Amazfit says the device is equipped with advanced BioTracker and EDA sensors, providing a comprehensive analysis of sleep quality, mental readiness, and physical condition.
Kiptum indicated his excitement, by providing the following statement:
“Teaming up with Amazfit for this ground-breaking journey is truly exciting. As I aim to break the two-hour mark in Rotterdam and pursue gold at the Paris Olympics, I am confident that Amazfit will be my ultimate ally in pushing the limits of human potential.”
Pengtao Yu, VP of Industrial Design, Brand & Consumer Marketing at Zepp Health, echoed Kiptum’s sentiments, emphasizing Amazfit’s commitment to empowering athletes worldwide.
“We are proud to support Kelvin’s quest to break records and inspire individuals to pursue their own health and fitness goals,” Yu stated.