Kenyan long-distance runner and world record holder for men's marathon Kelvin Kiptum passed away in a road accident on Feb. 11, 2024 at the age of 24.
He was killed alongside his coach, Rwanda's Gervais Hakizimana, after the car he was driving "lost control and rolled, killing the two on the spot", police commander Peter Mulinge told AFP.
Who is Kelvin Kiptum?
World record holder
Kiptum broke the men's marathon record in Chicago on Oct. 8, 2023, by running 42.195 kilometres in two hours and 35 seconds.
It was the third marathon he had competed in. He was 23 years old at the time.
The previous record was held by two-time Olympic champion and fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, who completed the race in two hours and one minute at the Berlin marathon in 2022.
Kiptum was scheduled to run at the Rotterdam Marathon on Apr. 14, according to the official Olympics website.
His team said that he would attempt to run the distance in under two hours, a feat that has never been achieved in open competition.
Favourite for the Paris 2024 Olympics
Kiptum and Kipchoge were both named in Kenya's provisional marathon team for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Kiptum, Hakizimana, and a female passenger were driving along the Eldoret-Kaptagat road in Elgeyo Marakwet County, western Kenya at around 11pm local time.
Kiptum apparently lost control of his vehicle, which veered off the road. The accident killed him and his coach.
The passenger was injured and taken to hospital.
Kiptum leaves behind his wife and two children.
Kenyan President William Ruto paid tribute to the athlete on X.
"Arguably one of the world’s finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record," he wrote.
Kelvin Kiptum was a star. Arguably one of the world’s finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record.
He was only 24 yet, as a hero, triumphed in Valencia, Chicago, London and in other top competitions. His mental strength and discipline were unmatched. Kiptum… pic.twitter.com/Ff7nild1CG
— William Samoei Ruto, PhD (@WilliamsRuto) February 12, 2024
"Kiptum was our future. An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark in the globe."
Kenyan Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba called the loss "devastatingly sickening".
Devastatingly sickening!! Kenya has lost a special gem. Lost for words.. pic.twitter.com/URgLeeop1t
— Hon Ababu-Namwamba, EGH🇰🇪 (@AbabuNamwamba) February 11, 2024
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe issued a statement on X.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana," he said.
We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.
On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.
It was only earlier this week in… pic.twitter.com/dDBKgjXNKL
— Seb Coe (@sebcoe) February 11, 2024
“On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation," he added.
Top photo via WilliamsRuto/X