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Kiplimo Can Challenge Kipchoge's World Record

Posted on:March 19, 2023 at 10:30 PM

Jacob Kiplimo is an absolute machine in cross country and on the roads. The men’s half-marathon world record holder already has more accolades to his name than most runners achieve in their entire careers. The Ugandan prodigy and his compatriot, Joshua Cheptegei, have shown immense accomplishments and potential leading into the 2023 outdoor track and field season.

Jacob Kiplimo - Source: RUN 4 FFWPU

Source: RUN 4 FFWPU on Pexels

However, I think Kiplimo has incredibly untapped potential (purposefully) in the Men’s Marathon. I think he can and WILL challenge Kipchoge’s marathon WR in the next 5-10 years. Here’s why:


I was initially motivated to make this post following Total Running Production’s Youtube video on the NYC Half Marathon. TRP is a fantastic YT channel and I highly recommend his content. In this video, he discusses Kiplimo’s dominant victory in the Men’s 2023 NYC Half Marathon. TRP brings up some undeniably impressive facts about where Kiplimo is at, and where he is headed as an athlete. Some of his accomplishments to date include:

Clearly, his range is incredible on the track, on the roads, and in cross country. What you’d also notice on his World Athletics page is that fact that all of these accolades have been achieved by a 22 year old!. Like Kipchoge, Jacob has shown incredible range from the 3k all the way to the half marathon over only a few years of Senior level competition. This is a serious indication that Kiplimo is just getting started on the performances he is able to deliver.

Comparison of Progression

Both Jacob Kiplimo and Eliud Kipchoge began their professional careers early on, which is not always common for distance athletes. Kipchoge’s initial most dominant performance was his 2003 World Championship 5k victory over El Guerrouj and Bekele at just 18 years old. Kiplimo found incredible success early in his U20 championship days, but his initial claim to fame victory is probably his 58:49 World Half Marathon Championship win in 2020 at age 19. Taking a look at their age-based progression, we see an interesting comparison:

<=18U20 World XC Champion (16 years)5k World Champion (CR)
19World Half-Marathon Champion3rd - Olympic Games 5k Athens
203rd - Olympic Games 10k Tokyo4th - World Championships 5k
213rd - World Championships 10k, Half-Marathon WR3rd - Indoor World Championships 3k
22NYC Half-Marathon Champion (So far)2nd - World Championships 5k

Comparatively, there is certainly an argument that these athletes were very similar in their accomplishments at age 22 or earlier. Kiplimo got his first WR earlier, but Kipchoge was a Senior world champion earlier. Kipchoge has also become the GOAT in the marathon later in his career, which we have a while to wait for with Kiplimo.

My Argument

Given these performances, there is no doubt that Kiplimo is on a similar pace as Kipchoge. If he can continue to stay healthy, work closely in training with a world-class athlete in Cheptegei, and remain competetive in international competition, I really think he has a strong case to continue challenging Kipchoge’s progression in the marathon. The fitness and experience are there, the biggest question mark will be when he finally decides to make the jump. My personal prediction is that he will make the jump after the 2024 Paris Olympic cycle, once Kipchoge is at the very end of his professional career. Regardless, once he does make the move to the marathon, you are going to want to pay attention to every run the young man participates in. You may just see a World Marathon Major victory on his first attempt at the distance.

Do you think Kiplimo has what it takes to challenge Kipchoge’s marathon prowess? Reach out to us @thekick_run on Twitter and on Instagram to let us know your thoughts!