Kenya's 24-year-old world record-holder marathon runner Kelvin Kiptum was found dead in a road accident. He and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana of Rwanda, died in a car on a road in western Kenya on Sunday.
Kelvin Kiptum was traveling from Kaptagat to Eldoret in western Kenya at around 11 pm (2000 GMT) when his car overturned. According to Kenya's local county police commander Peter Mulinge, Kiptum had lost control of his vehicle and hit a tree before landing in a ditch. The accident occurred around 11 pm (2000 GMT). There were three people in the car. Two died on the spot, while one was taken to the hospital.
“This was a self-involved accident where one Kelvin Kiptum, the world marathon record holder, was driving his vehicle with two passengers. Kiptum and Hakizimana died on the spot and the third person was rushed to Racecourse hospital in Eldoret.” Police commander Peter Mulinge said.
Paying tribute to Kelvin Kiptum, Kenya's Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba wrote on Twitter, “Devastatingly sickening! Kenya has lost a special gem. Lost for words.”
Kenya’s prime minister, Raila Odinga also wrote on X, “Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, world record holder and Kenyan athletics icon. Together with his coach, they tragically passed on in an accident tonight. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”
Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, said “shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kiptum and Hakizimana. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly,”
In October last year in Chicago, Kelvin Kiptum had created a world record by covering a distance of 42 km in two hours and 35 seconds. He was also named in Kenya's marathon team for the Paris Olympics later this year. Kelvin Kiptum had not competed since the 2023 Chicago Marathon, but he was planning to compete at the Rotterdam Marathon in April this year.
Kelvin Kiptum was one of the most exciting new prospects to emerge in road running in recent years. He made headlines when he won his marathon debut in Valencia in December 2022, clocking 2:01:53. In his third marathon less than a year later, he broke the world record with a time of 2:00:35 to win in Chicago.
That performance, coupled with his victory in a course record 2:01:25 at the London Marathon earlier in the year, saw him named the 2023 World Athlete of the Year for men's out-of-stadia events. Kelvin Kiptum made his international debut in 2019, finishing fifth at the Lisbon Half Marathon in a time of 59:54. Also he performed well consistently.