The sports world mourns marathon star Kelvin Kiptum. The world record holder from Kenya died at the age of 24 late on Sunday evening in a car accident in his home country, the national athletics federation confirmed. Kenyan media had previously reported the death, citing family members and the police, as well as the AP news agency. World Athletics Federation President Sebastian Coe said he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the news. Kiptum was the first person to run a marathon under 2:01 hours.
According to police, Kiptum was behind the wheel of the car that left the road around 11 p.m. local time in Kaptaget in Kenya's southwestern highlands - a region where many Kenyan long-distance runners train. Kiptum's trainer Garvais Hakizimana, who comes from Rwanda, and a companion were also in the vehicle. Hakizimana also died in the accident, and the woman was seriously injured, according to police. There were no other vehicles involved.
According to initial investigations, Kiptum lost control of the vehicle, veered off the road and collided with a tree before the car ended up in a ditch 60 meters further away, the Daily Nation newspaper quoted the responsible police representative Peter Mulinge as saying.
“An incredible athlete leaves an incredible legacy, we will miss him very much,” said the British Coe in a statement from the world association. Kenyan Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba wrote on X, formerly Twitter: "Kenya has lost a special jewel." Two-time 800 meter Olympic champion David Rudisha said he was "shocked" by his compatriot's death.
Kiptum won the Chicago Marathon a good four months ago in a world record time of 2:00:35 hours. He improved Eliud Kipchoge's previous record by 34 seconds. Kiptum had only completed his third marathon. According to the world association, he started running at the age of 13.
In Valencia in December 2022, Kiptum achieved an unofficial debut world record of 2:01:53 hours, then he sensationally won the London Marathon in 2:01:25 hours. The miracle runner immediately announced that he wanted to challenge the world record. He achieved this on October 8th in Chicago. In April he wanted to complete his first marathon since the record run in Rotterdam.