Kelvin Kiptum, the marathon world record-holder and rising star in long-distance running, tragically lost his life along with his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, in a car crash in Kenya on Sunday night. Kiptum, who was only 24, had recently had his world record ratified by World Athletics after setting it at the Chicago Marathon last year.
A standout talent in road running, Kiptum was considered a strong contender for a gold medal in the marathon at the upcoming Paris Olympics in August. The accident occurred on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, a prominent high-altitude training region for elite distance runners.
Confirming the devastating news, fellow athlete Milcah Chemos revealed that she witnessed Kiptum’s body at the hospital mortuary. Expressing her sorrow, she struggled to find words to describe the loss. The crash, which happened around 11 p.m., involved Kiptum as the driver and was the only vehicle involved.
Denis Muga, the area police chief, reported that Kiptum had been ejected from the car, which had veered off the road at high speed, collided with a tree, and rolled. A third person, a woman, was also in the car and suffered severe injuries.
The Kenyan track federation expressed deep sadness at the loss of Kiptum and Hakizimana. Kiptum had achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first man to run the marathon in under 2 hours and 1 minute, setting a world record of 2:00:35 in Chicago.
Expected to face fellow Kenyan and marathon great Eliud Kipchoge in an eagerly awaited showdown for marathon gold in Paris, Kiptum’s untimely death has sent shockwaves through the sporting community. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe and other notable figures offered condolences, highlighting Kiptum’s remarkable legacy in the sport.
Kiptum’s success included victories in prestigious marathons like London and Chicago, with three of the seven fastest marathon times ever recorded to his name. Unfortunately, his promising career was cut short, marking another tragic loss in a series of road accidents involving top Kenyan runners.