Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum is dead. The Kenyan died at the age of 24 late on Sunday evening in a car accident in his home country, family members and police confirmed, according to Kenyan media. The AP news agency also reported the death, citing an athlete friend.
“The accident occurred around 11 p.m. There were three passengers in the car, two died on the spot. The two are Kiptum and his trainer,” said Peter Mulinge, police commander in Elgeyo Marakwet in western Kenya. Kiptum was behind the wheel of the car that left the road around 11 p.m. local time in Kaptaget in Kenya's southwestern highlands - a region where many Kenyan long-distance runners train.
Coach Garvais Hakizimana also dead
Kiptum's trainer Garvais Hakizimana, who comes from Rwanda, and a companion were also in the vehicle. Hakizimana also died in the accident, and the woman was seriously injured, according to police. There were no other vehicles involved. According to initial investigations, Kiptum lost control of the vehicle, veered off the road and collided with a tree before the car ended up in a ditch 60 meters further away, the Daily Nation newspaper quoted the responsible police representative Peter Mulinge as saying.
World Athletics Federation President Sebastian Coe said he was “shocked and deeply sad.” “An incredible athlete leaves an incredible legacy, we will miss him very much,” wrote the Briton (67), formerly of X, on Twitter. Kenyan President William Ruto described Kiptum on left a trace”. “He was arguably one of the best athletes in the world, breaking barriers and setting a marathon record,” wrote Ruto: “Kiptum was our future.”
Iconic runner Eliud Kipchoge reacted with dismay. The 39-year-old wrote on his social media channels on Monday that he was “deeply saddened by the tragic death” of his successor as marathon world record holder. Compatriot Kiptum was an athlete “who has a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness. I extend my deepest condolences to his young family. May God comfort you during this difficult time.”
The news also hit the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach. “It was with great sadness that I learned of the tragic death of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum. We were looking forward to welcoming him to the Olympic community at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games and seeing what the world's fastest marathon runner can achieve," Bach was quoted as saying in an IOC post on X.
Kiptum won the Chicago Marathon a good four months ago in a world record time of 2:00:35 hours. He improved Kipchoge's previous record by 34 seconds and became the first person to run an official marathon under 2:01:00 hours. Kiptum had only completed his third marathon. According to the world association, he started running at the age of 13.
In Valencia in December 2022, Kiptum achieved an unofficial debut world record of 2:01:53 hours, then he sensationally won the London Marathon in 2:01:25 hours. The miracle runner immediately announced that he wanted to challenge the world record. He achieved this on October 8th in Chicago. At the Summer Olympics in Paris this year, Kiptum, who did not compete for Kenya at any major international championships, was supposed to meet against his compatriot Kipchoge. Kiptum was considered a promising candidate to become the first person to break the magical two-hour mark under regular conditions.