Kelvin Kiptum, the world record holder for the marathon, and his coach died in a car crash in Kenya late Sunday. According to Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos, who went to the hospital and saw Kiptum’s body, the 24-year-old athlete was on course to be a superstar of long-distance running.
Kiptum and his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a crash on a road between the towns of Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, a high-altitude region renowned as a training base for long distance runners. Chemos and a group of athletes went to the hospital after hearing the news of the crash, along with Kiptum’s family members to identify his body.
Reports indicated that a third person, a woman, was also in the car and sustained serious injuries. The new world marathon record of 2:00.35 was set by Kiptum at the Chicago Marathon in October, beating the mark of fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge. His record was ratified by international track federation World Athletics. Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei sent a team of officials to the area after being informed of the accident.
Kiptum had immediate success in his running career, setting the fastest time ever by a marathon debutant at the 2022 Valencia Marathon and winning the London and Chicago races in the previous year. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe expressed his condolences, acknowledging Kelvin’s historic athletic achievements.