In a tragic accident that occurred on February 11 in Kenya, two record-breaking marathon runners, Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana, lost their lives. Kiptum had just turned 24 years old and had achieved a remarkable world record in the marathon in October in Chicago, running it in 2:00:35. He was only 23 when he set this record, beating the previous one held by Eliud Kipchoge.
Sarah Lorge Butler is a writer and editor based in Eugene, Oregon whose work on running, its trends, and unique individuals has been featured in Runner’s World since 2005. She is also the author of two well-received fitness books, Run Your Butt Off! and Walk Your Butt Off!
The accident took place when Kiptum lost control of the Toyota Premio he was driving. Both men passed away on the scene while a third passenger was taken to the hospital. World Athletics ratified Kiptum’s record on February 6 and Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics expressed his condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation after their tragic loss. He highlighted how shocking and deeply saddened it was for everyone involved.
Kiptum had a remarkable career in marathon running leading up to his world record achievement. He won his first marathon in Valencia, Spain in 2022 and later triumphed in the 2022 London Marathon. He had plans to attempt to break the 2-hour barrier at the Rotterdam Marathon in April 2024. Hakizimana had spoken about Kiptum’s intense training regime, revealing that he sometimes trained up to 300 kilometers per week.