World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum is dead. Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a grisly road accident along Eldoret-Kaptagat road.
Kiptum’s family and traffic base commandant Dennis Muga confirmed the demise of the two.
“The accident happened around 11pm. The car had three occupants, two died on the spot while one was taken to hospital,” said Elgeyo Marakwet County Commandant Peter Mulinge.
The World Athletics ratified Kiptum’s marathon record of 2:00:35 set in Chicago in 2023 days ago.
He became the first athlete to break 2:01 in a record-eligible marathon, taking 34 seconds off the world record at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 8 October.
“I knew I was coming for a course record, but a world record – I am so happy,” he said. “A world record was not on my mind today, but I knew one day I would be a world record-holder,” said Kiptum then.
World Athletics Eulogizes Kiptum
World Athletics said it was shocked to hear about Kiptum’s death that occurred on Sunday in Kenya.
According to the Athletics governing body, Kiptum was one of the most exciting new prospects to emerge in road running in recent years.
In a statement, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said, “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.”
“On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.
“It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon world record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time.
“An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”
Kenya Mourns Kelvin Kiptum
Condolence messages poured in following Kiptum’s untimely death.
“Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, World Record holder and Kenyan athletics icon. Together with his coach, they tragically passed on in an accident tonight,” stated Opposition Chief Raila Odinga.
He added, “My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”
On his part, Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi noted that Kiptum’s talent had inspired many people around the world.
“I am deeply saddened to hear about the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach. His remarkable talent and unwavering dedication to athletics inspired countless individuals,” eulogized Mudavadi.
According to the Prime CS, the athlete “made an indelible mark not only through his achievements but also through mentorship and leadership, guiding aspiring athletes to reach their full potential.”
“The legacy he leaves behind is a testament to passion and commitment to excellence. During this difficult time, my thoughts and prayers are with their family, friends and teammates. May you find comfort in the cherished memories you shared and strength in the support of one another.”
He was born on December 2, 1999, in Chepsamo Village, Chepkorio, Elgeyo Marakwet County.
His journey into the world of long-distance running began during his school days at Kipchawat Primary School in Keiyo North Constituency.
Fellow villager and marathoner Geoffrey Kamworor, who also attended the same school inspired Kiptum at the age of 23 years.
In 2019, at the age of 18 years, Kelvin Kiptum won the Kass FM Eldoret Half Marathon in Kenya with a time of 1:02:01, sending the first warning shot.
In March 2019, finishing fifth at the Lisbon Half Marathon, officially joining the international scene.
Kiptum’s Rwandese Coach
Hakizamana holds the national record in Rwanda for men’s 3000m steeplechase with a time of 8:39:05.
Additionally, he took part in the 36th edition of the London Marathon in 2016.
In a previous media interview, Hakizimana said he used to train in Chepsamo, Rift Valley, in 2006 where he could share his training programs with Kiptum.
He revealed that he shared training programs with the marathoner on WhatsApp before the Valencia marathon where he won gold.