In a tragic turn of events, 24-year-old marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a car crash in Kenya on Sunday night. A fellow athlete, Milcah Chemos, who was at the hospital where their bodies were taken, confirmed the news. The crash occurred on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the high-altitude region renowned for training long-distance runners.
Kiptum was on course to become a superstar of long-distance running. He had immediate success by running the fastest time ever by a marathon debutant at the 2022 Valencia Marathon. He went on to win the London and Chicago races last year, two of the most prestigious marathons in the world. His record was ratified by international track federation World Athletics just last week.
Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei sent a team of officials to the area after being informed of the late-night accident. Family members of Kiptum were also present at the hospital to identify his body. According to Kenyan media reports, there was a third person in the car – a woman – who was also taken to the same hospital with serious injuries.
The loss of Kiptum and his coach has left many mourning their passing. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe offered his condolences in a statement on X (formerly Twitter). “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” he wrote. “On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates, and the Kenyan nation.”