Kiptum, who broke Eliud Kipchoge's marathon record in Chicago last year, died in an accident between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya
: Getty Images/Mustafa Yalcin
Kelvin Kiptum, the world marathon record holder and the reigning winner of the London Marathon, has died in a car accident in Kenya.
His death was reported on Sunday night by The Standard newspaper in Kenya, who said that Kiptum and his Rwandan coach and mentor, Gervais Hakizimana, were killed while driving between Eldoret and Kaptagat, which are two of the major bases for Kenyan endurance runners.
Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, led the tributes. “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” said Coe.
“On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation. It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon world record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”
A report in the Nation newspaper quoted Peter Mulinge, the local police commander. “This was a self-involved accident where one Kelvin Kiptum, the world marathon record holder, was driving his vehicle with two passengers,” said Mulinge. “Kiptum and Hakizimana died on the spot and the third person was rushed to Racecourse Hospital in Eldoret.”
Musalia Mudavadi, who is Kenya’s cabinet secretary, wrote: “I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Kelvin Kiptum. His remarkable talent and unwavering dedication to athletics inspired countless individuals.
“He made an indelible mark not only through his achievements but also through mentorship and leadership, guiding aspiring athletes to reach their full potential. The legacy he leaves behind is a testament to passion and commitment to excellence.
“During this difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with their family, friends and teammates. May you find comfort in the cherished memories you shared and strength in the support of one another.”
The 24-year-old took long distance running by storm last year, becoming the first man inside 2hr 1min to beat Eliud Kipchoge’s world record at the Chicago Marathon after also dominating the London Marathon in what was the third fastest ever time over the 26.2 mile distance.
Kiptum, who was widely regarded as a once-in-a-generation talent, was the clear favourite for Olympic gold in Paris this summer where Kipchoge, his legendary compatriot, will be going for a hat-trick of marathon titles.
Kiptum’s historic time of 2hr 0m 35sec was set in October and he was in the final weeks of training for the Rotterdam Marathon in April after also being selected in the Kenyan team for the Olympic marathon in August.
Although Kipchoge became the first human to run a marathon under two hours in a controlled time trial event with pacers in Vienna in 2019, Kiptum had looked increasingly likely to become the first person to achieve that feat in ratified race conditions.
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