Kelvin Kiptum, the record-breaking world marathon runner, tragically passed away in a car accident in Kenya on Sunday at the age of 24. His coach, Gervais Hakizimana, also lost his life in the same accident on the Eldoret-Kaptagat road in western Kenya, Kiptum’s hometown.
The news of the accident brought a group of athletes, including Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos, to the hospital in Eldoret where they went to identify Kiptum’s body. His family members were also present during this difficult time.
Kiptum made headlines last year when he became the first man to run a marathon in under 2:01, finishing the Chicago Marathon in October with a time of 2:00:35, breaking the record previously held by Eliud Kipchoge. World Athletics officially ratified Kiptum’s record just last week.
The tragic news of Kiptum’s death was shared by former Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga, who expressed his condolences and described Kiptum as a “remarkable individual” and a “Kenyan athletics icon”. World Athletics President Sebastian Coe also expressed shock and deep sadness at the news, sending condolences to the families, friends, and teammates of Kiptum and his coach.
Kiptum’s legacy as an incredible athlete and record-breaker will be greatly missed, and his death marks a profound loss for the athletics community in Kenya and beyond.