We asked Justin Lagat, our senior writer in Kenya, to remind us of the big marathon moments in 2022. This is his top four!
As we begin 2023, it is interesting to look back at the year that just ended and wonder whether the year ahead has what it takes to live up to the trend set, especially in the women’s marathon event where new stars entered the event. The world record was threatened two times.
Out of the top ten women’s top marathon performers in 2022, five of them were those who made their marathon debut in the year: Tigist Assefa made her debut in March and later won the Berlin Marathon in a then-new Ethiopian record -that would last for less than three months- of 2:15:37 in September, Letesenbet Gidey finished second at the Valencia Marathon in 2:16:49, Almaz Ayana led two other debutants to sweep the podium as she won the Amsterdam Marathon in 2:17:20, Yalemzerf Yehualaw made her debut with a 2:17:23 in Hamburg and repeated a 2:17:26 at the London Marathon, and Kenya’s Sheila Chepkirui ran 2:17:29 to finish 3rd in Valencia.
Similarly, the men’s marathon event had two sub-2:02 times run. It remains to be seen whether we shall be able to see such performances in 2023.
Here are the four outstanding marathon moments from 2022:
Eliud Kipchoge breaking his own world record at the Berlin Marathon
Eliud Kipchoge, 2018 BMW Berlin Marathon, 2:01.39 WR, photo by NN Running team
On 25th September, Kipchoge produced a thrilling performance to lower his own world record time from 2:01:39 to 2:01:09. The two times Olympic champion, who crossed the first half in an unprecedented 59 minutes and 51 seconds later, said, “I was planning to run 60:50 at halfway, but my legs ran a little faster.”
Ruth Chepngetich missing the women’s world record in Chicago.
Ruth Chepngetich wins Bank of America Chicago in 2:14.18, photo by Bank of America Chicago Marathon/Kevin Morris
While Chepngetich ran the first half of the 2022 Chicago Marathon, she was incredible! She crossed the 5K in 15:11 and the 10K in 30:40. Her predicted finish time was under 2hrs and 10 minutes and her pace ranged from around 3:02 – 3:04/km.
However, the fast pace earlier in the race might have later cost her the world record as she struggled in the last stages and saw the world record of 2:14:04, by her fellow Kenyan Brigid Kosgei, slip away. She ran 2:14:18, which remains the fastest time in 2022 for women.
Kelvin Kiptum surprising the world with a 2:01:53 marathon debut time in Valencia
Kelvin Kitum takes Valencia in 2:01.53! photo by Valencia Marathon LOC
Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum won the 2022 Valencia Marathon in an amazing new course record of 2:01:53. This came in as a huge surprise given that it was just his first-ever marathon.
Watching how Kiptum will run in his next race will be interesting. He had remained patient, probably due to his inexperience, up to around the 32km point when he began to urge his competitors in the leading pack to follow him as he increased the pace. The two would not keep up with Kiptum, running at an average speed of 22km/hr and continuing to increase the gap at the front. His next competitor would come in over one minute later after he crossed the finish line in the fastest marathon debut time ever run.
Amane Beriso’s surprise win at the Valencia Marathon
Amane Beriso takes Valencia, photo by Valencia Marathon LOC
Running 2:14:58 and cutting off over 5 minutes from her previous personal best time of 2:20:48, Beriso stunned fans worldwide who were expecting the win to go to the pre-race favorite, Letesenbet Gidey. Her time will become the new national record for Ethiopia once it is ratified.