In a tragic turn of events, marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a car crash in Kenya late Sunday. The news was confirmed by Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos, who was at the hospital where the bodies were taken. Kiptum was 24 and had been on course to become a superstar of long-distance running.
The crash occurred on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of the high-altitude region that’s known for producing top long-distance runners. Chemos, who is also an athlete, was part of a group that went to the hospital after hearing about the crash. Family members of Kiptum were also present to identify his body.
Kiptum set the new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October, beating Eliud Kipchoge’s previous mark. His record was ratified by international track federation World Athletics last week. Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei sent a team of officials to the area after being informed about the accident.
Kiptum had immediate success as he ran the fastest time ever by a marathon debutant at the 2022 Valencia Marathon and won both London and Chicago races last year, two of the most prestigious marathons globally. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe offered his condolences on behalf of all World Athletics in a statement on X (formerly Twitter). “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of Kelvin Kiptum’s death,” Coe wrote. “On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to his family, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.”