Kelvin Kiptum Running Form Analysis

Kelvin Kiptum Running Form Analysis

On Oct. 8th 2023, Chicago woke up to a day of perfect running weather, with 46 degrees Fahrenheit or 8 degrees Celsius and overcast skies. On that day Kelvin Kiptum became the first runner ever to run below 2 hours and one minute. In this post and the video below we analyze Kelvin Kiptum’s running form to see how he did it. In only his 3rd ever marathon the 23 year old surpassed the world record set by Eliud Kipchoge by 34 seconds. He finished the Chicago Marathon in 2 hours and 35 seconds.

Watch the video below for Kelvin Kiptums running form analysis; if you prefer to read, then continue below the video.

Cadence & Step Length

Kelvin Kiptum took about 23500 steps from start to finish line. His cadence of 195 steps / minute was quite a bit higher than the cadence of Kipchoge or Assefa’s which is in the 180s’. However keep in mind that the video we analyze is from his faster, second half of the race, which would lead to a slightly higher cadence. This cadence translates into a step length of almost 1.8 meters or 6 feet.

Foot Strike and Shank Angle

Just like marathon legend Eliud Kipchoge, Kelvin Kiptum also uses a mid-foot landing, which helps with low ground contact time and balances the use of upper and lower leg muscles and tendons.

Kelvin Kiptum - Running Form Analysis - Foot Strike

Kiptum achieves a very large maximum shank angle of about 18 degrees. He lands close to his body with a near vertical shin generating a Strike Angle of 3 to 4 degrees. Going from 18 degrees at leg extension to 3 degrees at impact provides  15 degrees of “sweep”. This generates lots of power and forward momentum at touch down.

Kelvin Kiptum - Running Form - Maximum Shank Angle, Strike Angle  and Sweep

Posture and Forward Lean

Kelvin Kiptum does not move his trunk much back and forth and presents about 5 degrees forward lean at mid-stance. He also runs with good posture, stacking his hips, thorax, neck and head on a straight line.

Kelvin Kiptum Running Form - Forward Lean

Below we are seeing a comparison of selected running form parameters between Kiptum, Kipchoge and Assefa.  These measurements are approximate due to limited quality TV footage and because they refer to a specific point in the race but they have good indicative value.

Running Form Comparision of Kiptum vs. Kipchoge vs. Assefa

Kelvin Kiptum’s running form analysis shows that compared to many elite runners he has an even tighter arm angle. This may be explained by his high cadence, as a smaller pendulum is able to move quicker. He seems to move his arm back slightly past his centerline but still controls the forward and backward movement of his arms well.

Compared to his world-class peers Kelvin Kiptum seems to run with slightly Higher Cadence, a Tighter Arm Angle, Larger Maximum shank angle and Sweep. He also drives his arm slightly further Backward, but still controls it well.

Training and Pacing

A typical training week for Kipchoge might be around 200 km, whereas according to his coach Gervais Hakizimana Kelvin Kiptum likes to run more than 250 km a week. With this high training volume good running form,  strength training and rest after a race are essential to avoid injury.

Pacing for this world record may not have been optimal, with a much slower first than second half. If Kiptum stays injury free, gains experience and manages to even out his pacing – can he be the first one to break the magic 2 hours barrier in an open race?

Kelvin Kiptum - Chicago Marathon Pacing

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