Kelvin Kiptum, the world record-holder for the marathon, and his coach died in a car crash in Kenya on Sunday night. A fellow athlete who went to the hospital and saw Kiptum’s body confirmed his death.
The crash happened on a road between the towns of Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, which is a region known as a training base for long distance runners. Kiptum’s coach, Gervais Hakizimana, was also killed in the crash.
A group of athletes, along with family members of Kiptum, went to the hospital in Eldoret after hearing about the accident. Reports stated that a third person, a woman, was also in the car and was taken to the same hospital with serious injuries.
Kiptum, who was only 24 years old, was the first man to run a marathon in under 2 hours, 1 minute. He set the new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October. The record was ratified by the international track federation World Athletics last week.
The president of the Kenyan athletics federation, Jackson Tuwei, has already sent a team of officials to the area after being informed of the late-night accident. Kiptum had immediate success by running the fastest time ever by a marathon debutant at the 2022 Valencia Marathon, and he won both the London and Chicago races last year.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe was one of the first to offer his condolences in a statement on Twitter, expressing shock and deep sadness over the loss of Kiptum and his coach.