Kelvin Kiptum, Kenya’s world record-holding marathon runner, has died in a car crash. The death of the 24-year-old, who was driving in western Kenya on Sunday evening when his car rolled over, has left the world of athletics in shock.
According to international media reports, Kiptum lost control of the vehicle, and the young running sensation and his Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana, were killed on the spot, a local police officer said. A female passenger who sustained injuries was rushed to the hospital.
Kiptum exploded onto the marathon scene when he ran a world record 2:00:35 in Chicago in October, taking 34 seconds off fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge’s previous record.
He was just 23 years old at the time, and competing in only his third marathon. Kiptum also won his other two races: his debut in Valencia in 2022 and a follow-up in London the following year.
The Kenyan had announced he would attempt to become the first man to run an official marathon under the two-hour mark in Rotterdam on April 14.
Kiptum was the overwhelming favourite to take the gold at the upcoming Summer Olympics in Paris.
Tributes poured in following the news of Kiptum’s death.
World Athletics remembered him as “one of the most exciting new prospects to emerge in road running in recent years”.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said in a statement.
“On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.”
Coe said only last week he had been in Chicago “to officially ratify” Kiptum’s record.
“An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”