NAIROBI: The athletics world is mourning the tragic loss of 24-year-old Kenyan marathoner Kelvin Kiptum, who held the world record for the distance. Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, 36, were killed in a road accident on Sunday night near Eldoret, Kenya.
Kiptum, who only switched to the marathon from shorter races a year ago, set a stunning new world record of 2:00:35 at the Chicago Marathon in October 2023. This record was just ratified by World Athletics days before his untimely death. He achieved this incredible feat by shaving an impressive 50 seconds off his personal best and eclipsing the previous record held by the legendary Eliud Kipchoge. Kiptum’s performance had him touted as a potential successor to Kipchoge and a contender to break the elusive sub-2-hour marathon barrier.
The details of the accident are still emerging, but reports suggest Kiptum was driving a vehicle that lost control and veered off the road, colliding with a tree. A third occupant sustained serious injuries and is receiving medical attention.
Kiptum’s death has sent shockwaves through the running community. Tributes have poured in from fellow athletes, coaches, and fans worldwide, celebrating his exceptional talent and promising career cut tragically short. His coach, Hakizimana, was also a respected figure in the athletics world, having competed professionally in various middle-distance events.