On Sunday, tragedy struck the world of long-distance running as marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a car crash in Kenya. The news was confirmed by Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos, who had gone to the hospital after hearing about the accident.
Kiptum was just 24 years old and had been on track to become a superstar in the sport. He set the new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon last October, beating Eliud Kipchoge’s previous mark. His record was ratified by World Athletics last week. Kiptum had immediate success, winning the fastest time ever by a marathon debutant at the Valencia Marathon in 2022 and going on to win the London and Chicago races last year.
The crash happened on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of high-altitude training country for long-distance runners. A third person, a woman, was also involved in the accident and taken to the same hospital with serious injuries.
Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei sent a team of officials to investigate after being informed of the late-night accident. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe offered his condolences in a statement on X (formerly Twitter), saying that “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach.”
This tragedy has left many people feeling lost as we say goodbye to an incredible athlete who left an incredible legacy behind him.