From the Vault:

A Look at Wilson Kipsang 2012 Virgin London Marathon Champion

By Emory Mort
April 22, 2012

Editor's note:  The segment below on Wilson Kipsang is from Employee #1's final piece in the 8 Days of Glory Series on the Rotterdam, Boston and London Marathons that did not get published prior to London Marathon. The longer piece looks discusses some of the Kenyan Marathoners in the context of Malcolm Gladwell's book Outliers. With Kipsang winning Sunday's London Marathon in 2:04:44 we decided to publish the portion on Kipsang now so you'd know a little more about him. Kipsang now has run 5 marathons in his life and has won every won except for his first one.


Next! Wilson Kipsang: an outlier. So, he must have practiced for 10,000 consistent hours, right Malcolm Gladwell?

No. Wilson Kipsang, who is now 30, basically didn't do much "official training" from 18-25. Then, he started to get more serious about running. When he was 29, he ran 2:03:42 to win his 3rd marathon in 4 career attempts. Now, he's the man. Some day, he'll be slow again. Why do we think we can explain these things?

Wilson Kipsang posing with the Great Rift Valley behind him.
Photo credit Emory Mort

Wilson has not run yet against the big boys. But he nearly broke the world record last year. I think he's very dangerous in this race. If I had to compare him to an NFL quarterback, I'd compare him to Peyton Manning. He seems very composed, like just when you think you're going to fool him with a blitz up the middle, he's going to audible, change the blocking scheme, reroute his slot receiver, go to the shotgun, and pick up 20 on the short in. He'd also be great on a commercial. If you want to know more about WK, and get a better idea of him as a person, you can check out the interview we did with him on YouTube (interview below or here). Another thing I'll mention is that his neophyte status in "the big race" may be an advantage. It's really hard to say one way or another. In Boston, Wesley Korir's refusal to pick up the pace likely won him the race, when many times he would have lost for the same maneuver.

Interview With Wilson Overlooking the Rift Valley, Iten Kenya

Wilson Kipsang Stats:
Marathon PR:
2:03:42 (#2 all-time Frankfurt 2011)
Marathon History
April 2010 Paris 2:07:13 3rd Place
October 2010 Frankfurt 2:04:57 1st Place
March 2011 Lake Biwa 2:06:13 1st Place
October 2011 Frankfurt 2:03:42 #2 all-time Frankfurt 2011
April 2012 London 2:04:44 1st Place
Half-Marathon PR 58:59

Wilson Kipsang Overlooking Rift Valley
Photo by 
Michael Steele, Getty Images

More:Getty Images Day in the Life Photos

Also in this Series:
Meet the Amazing Mary Keitany

Editor's note: The IAAF paid for portions of Emory Mort's trip but had no say on this article.

8 Days of Glory Series: The Kenyan Marathoning Greats
8 Days for Glory - A Kenya-Flavored Preview of the Upcoming Men's Marathon World Record Assault
Episode 1 Moses Mosop*: "Moses has speed that has never been seen."
Episode 2  Geoffrey Mutai Returns to Boston: A Look Back At Boston 2011 And A Look Ahead To Monday's 116th Running

Episode 3 Mary Keitany* Meet the Amazing Mary Keitany
Episode 4 Abel Kirui* The Electric Marathoner
Bonus Episode: Wilson Kipsang*:  2012 Virgin London Marathon Champion
"If I had to compare him to an NFL quarterback, I'd compare him to Peyton Manning."
Episode 6: 8 Days of Glory Surprise: What We've Learned from the Kenyan Olympic Selection Process

*on the 2012 Kenyan Olympic Team

London 2012:
Mary Keitany Runs Fastest Final 10km In Marathon History To Repeat & Become The #3 Performer In History
Men: A New #1: Wilson Kipsang Destroys One Of Greatest Marathon Fields In History 


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