On Sunday night, Kenyan marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a car crash on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya. The accident occurred at around 11 p.m., in the heart of a high-altitude region known as a training base for long-distance runners. Milka Chemos, a fellow Kenyan runner who was at the hospital where the bodies were taken, confirmed the deaths of Kiptum and his coach.
Kiptum, who was only 24 years old, had been on his way to becoming a long-distance running superstar. He set a new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October, beating Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge. This past week, World Athletics officially ratified his record after he broke the previous mark by more than two minutes and one second. Kiptum had immediate success by running the fastest time ever by a marathon debutant at the 2022 Valencia Marathon. Last year he won the London and Chicago races, two of the most prestigious marathons in the world.
According to Chemos, there was a third person in the car during the accident – a woman – who was also taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuway sent a team of officials to the area after being informed of the late-night accident.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe expressed his condolences on behalf of all athletics organizations worldwide when he wrote “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Kelvin Kiptum’s tragic passing.” He continued by saying that “On behalf of all athletics organizations worldwide, we send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.”