© Copyright – 2023 – Athletics Illustrated

Men’s team

Kenya is fielding a blazing men’s marathon field for the 2023 Budapest World Athletics Championships. The world’s second fastest marathon runner, Kelvin Kiptum, as well as Geoffrey Kamworor, and Titus Kipruto, will make up the marathon team at Worlds in Budapest this August.

Kiptum is the second fastest marathon runner all-time behind fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge. Kipchoge has run 2:01:09 and 2:01:39, while the 23-year-old Kiptum has run 2:01:53 and 2:01:25 in Valencia 2022 and London 2023, respectively. His Valencia performance was the fastest marathon debut in history. Kiptum appears to be a shoe-in for gold, and certainly a medal.

Kamworor has made his statement over the half-marathon distance being a three-time World Champion, however, has yet to run a marathon to reflect his talent level. Although no one is going to suggest that 2:04:53 in London 2023 isn’t fast, out of eight marathons, that is his best, while his fastest half-marathon is 58:01. He finished second in London to Kiptum in April this year. The 30-year-old who has come back from being hit by a motorcycle (lacerations and a broken tibia), seems ready to take the next step in his marathon career.

The 24-year-old Kipruto is an interesting choice for the third runner on the team, having run 2:04:53 and a couple of 2:05s.

Michael Githae (2:07:28, Fukuoka 2022), who finished second at the Commonwealth Games and Timothy Kiplagat (2:03:50, Rotterdam 2023) are the two reserves. Why Kiplagat with his superior time is not ahead of Kipruto is anyone’s guess.

As typical, selecting a team will conjure up questions about who wasn’t picked. For example, Amos Kipruto won London in 2022 and owns a blazing fastest 2:03:13 personal best. Kipruto endured the heat of Doha at the 2019 World Athletics Championships to take bronze. Evans Chebet at age 34 was left off the team. He owns a best of 2:03:00. He has won Boston twice and New York once

Women’s team

Brigid Kosgei, Rosemary Wanjiru and Sheila Chepkirui will make up the women’s team. The reserves are Sally Chepyego Kaptich and Margaret Wangari.

Kosgei is the current world record holder with her 2019 Chicago performance of 2:14:04. She finished second to Peres Jepchirchir at the Tokyo Olympic Games and has won nine marathons.

Wanjiru finished second to Kosgei at the 2023 Tokyo Marathon in March, clocking a 2:06:28 finish time for the 28-year-old’s personal best. She ran 2:18:00 at the 2022 Berlin Marathon. The 32-year-old Chepkirui holds a best of 2:17:29 in Valencia last year.

Ruth Chepng’etich was left off the team. She had stomach issues during the Eugene World Athletics Championships and had to retire early from the race. She is the second fastest woman of all time with her 2:14:18 performance at the 2022 Chicago Marathon. Coupled with her Doha World’s win in oppressive heat makes one wonder, what does it take to impress selector Paul Mutwii, director of competitions.