Kelvin Kiptum, the world record holder for the marathon, tragically passed away in a car accident in Kenya on February 11. He was only 24 years old. Kiptum’s coach, Gervais Hakizimana, also lost his life in the same accident. The news of their deaths was reported by the Daily Standard.
Kiptum had achieved the remarkable feat of setting a new world record for the marathon in October, running an incredible time of 2:00:35 in Chicago. He was just 23 when he broke the previous record, which had been held by Eliud Kipchoge. Kiptum’s average pace for the marathon was 4:36 per mile, and he negative split the race, running the first half in 1:00:48 and the second half in 59:47. World Athletics officially ratified Kiptum’s record on February 6. The president of World Athletics, Sebastien Coe, expressed shock and sadness over the news of Kiptum and Hakizimana’s deaths, offering his deepest condolences to their families and friends.
Kiptum’s talent and potential in the marathon were evident from his early victories. He won his first marathon in Valencia, Spain in 2022 with a time of 2:01:53 and was also victorious in the 2022 London Marathon, coming within 16 seconds of Kipchoge’s record. His sights were set on breaking the 2-hour barrier at the Rotterdam Marathon in April 2024. According to reports, Kiptum used to undergo intense training, sometimes covering up to 300 kilometers (more than 180 miles) per week. The accident that claimed his life occurred while he was driving a Toyota Premio, resulting in the loss of both Kiptum and his coach. Another passenger was transported to the hospital with injuries.
The tragic loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, has deeply impacted the running community and the entire nation of Kenya. Sarah Lorge Butler, a writer and editor based in Oregon, has been covering stories about running and fitness for Runner’s World since 2005. She is the author of two popular fitness books, Run Your Butt Off! and Walk Your Butt Off!