12th February 2024 – (Kaptagat) The sporting world is in mourning following the sudden and tragic death of Kelvin Kiptum, the world marathon record holder, and his coach in a road accident on Sunday. Kiptum, who was just 24 years old, had achieved remarkable success, including winning the London Marathon in April and setting the world record in Chicago in October.
According to local authorities, the accident occurred in Kaptagat, southwest Kenya, when Kiptum lost control of his vehicle around 11pm local time. The young athlete’s coach, Gervais Hakizimana, also lost his life in the crash, while a third person involved in the incident was rushed to the hospital for treatment.
Kenya’s prime minister, Raila Odinga, expressed his condolences, stating on X (formerly Twitter), “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. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”
Ababu Namwamba, Kenya’s minister for sports, echoed these sentiments on X, saying, “Devastatingly sickening! Kenya has lost a special gem. Lost for words.”
Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, expressed his shock and deep sadness at the news, remarking, “An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”
Local county commander Peter Mulinge provided further details of the accident to the Nation newspaper, explaining that Kiptum had lost control of his vehicle, colliding with a tree before landing in a ditch. Mulinge stated, “This was a self-involved accident where one Kelvin Kiptum, the world marathon record holder, was driving his vehicle with two passengers. Kiptum and Hakizimana died on the spot, and the third person was rushed to Racecourse hospital in Eldoret.”
Kiptum’s remarkable achievement of breaking the world record by completing the marathon in 2 hours, 0 minutes, and 35 seconds had recently been ratified by World Athletics. His feat had shaved 34 seconds off Eliud Kipchoge’s previous record. Additionally, Kiptum had announced his intention to become the first athlete to officially run a marathon in under two hours, with plans to participate in the Rotterdam Marathon in April.