Tragically, Kenyan marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana lost their lives in a car crash in Kenya on Sunday night. A fellow athlete who went to the hospital to see Kiptum’s body confirmed the news.
Kiptum was just 24 years old and was on track to become a superstar in long-distance running. He had set a new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October, beating the previous mark held by Eliud Kipchoge. His record was ratified by international track federation World Athletics last week.
Kiptum had immediate success in his career, winning the London and Chicago marathons last year, two of the most prestigious races in the world. His debutant time at the Valencia Marathon was also the fastest ever recorded.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe offered his condolences on behalf of all World Athletics, saying “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.” Coe added that it was only earlier this week that he officially ratified Kiptum’s historic time in Chicago.
The crash happened on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of the high-altitude region that is renowned as a training base for long-distance runners. Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei sent a team of officials to the area after being informed of the late-night accident.