Kelvin Kiptum: Kenyan Marathon Record Holder Tragically dies in Accident

Tragically, Kelvin Kiptum, the world record holder for the men’s marathon, passed away in a road accident in his home country of Kenya.

Tragically, he lost his life along with his coach, Rwanda’s Gervais Hakizimana, in a car accident on a road in western Kenya on Sunday.

Kiptum achieved a significant milestone in 2023, emerging as a formidable competitor to fellow countryman Eliud Kipchoge, who is widely regarded as one of the most accomplished marathon runners.

Last October in Chicago, Kiptum surpassed Kipchoge’s accomplishment by completing the 26.2 miles (42km) in just two hours and 35 seconds.

The two athletes have been selected for Kenya’s provisional marathon team for the upcoming Paris Olympics.

Expressing his condolences, Kenyan Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba wrote on X: “Absolutely heart-wrenching!! Kenya has suffered a significant loss. Speechless.

Kenya’s opposition leader and former prime minister, Raila Odinga, expressed his condolences for the loss of a respected figure who was admired both as a national hero and a prominent figure in Kenyan athletics.

Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, praised Kiptum as an exceptional athlete who has left a remarkable legacy.

According to the AFP news agency, police reported that the road accident occurred around 23:00 local time (20:00 GMT) on Sunday.

Providing additional information about the crash, authorities have confirmed that Kiptum was the driver involved. Tragically, the vehicle lost control and rolled, resulting in the immediate loss of two lives.

A spokesperson, as reported by AFP, mentioned that a third passenger, who happened to be a woman, sustained injuries and was quickly taken to the hospital.

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Last week, his team made an announcement about his attempt to run the distance in under two hours at the Rotterdam marathon. This is a remarkable feat that has never been accomplished in open competition.

The father-of-two’s journey to stardom was swift, as he completed his first full marathon in 2022.

His performance was truly remarkable, as he achieved an incredible feat in the world of marathon running. He ran an astonishing time of 2:01:53 to claim victory at the Valencia Marathon, solidifying his status as one of the fastest runners in history. Not stopping there, he went on to set a new course record of 2:01:25 at the prestigious London Marathon in April 2023.

In a remarkable display of talent and determination, Kiptum managed to shave an impressive 34 seconds off the world record time during his last race in Chicago, only six months after his debut marathon.

He had already perfected a unique strategic method that involved staying with the group for 30 kilometres before increasing his speed and taking the lead for the rest of the race.

Kiptum participated in his inaugural major competition in 2018, relying on borrowed shoes due to financial constraints preventing him from purchasing his own pair.

He was part of a fresh generation of Kenyan athletes who embarked on their careers on the road, departing from the previous custom of athletes commencing on the track before transitioning to longer distances.

Kiptum explained to the BBC last year that his unconventional decision was solely influenced by a scarcity of resources.

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“I didn’t have the funds to travel to track sessions,” he explained.

His coach, Hakizimana, 36, was a retired Rwandese runner. Last year, he spent months helping Kiptum target the world record.

Their relationship as coach and athlete began in 2018, but the pair first met when the world record holder was much younger.

“I knew him when he was a little boy, herding livestock barefooted,” Hakizimana recalled last year. “It was in 2009, I was training near his father’s farm, he’d come kicking at my heels and I would chase him away.

“Now, I am grateful to him for his achievement.”

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