In a tragic accident on February 11, 2023, Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana lost their lives in Kenya at the age of 24 and 50 respectively. Kiptum was a record-breaking marathon runner who achieved an incredible world record in the marathon in October 2022, running it in 2:00:35. He was only 23 years old when he set this record, beating the previous one held by Eliud Kipchoge.
Sarah Lorge Butler, a writer and editor based in Eugene, Oregon, has been covering the world of running for over a decade and has written extensively about its trends and unique individuals. She is also the author of two well-received fitness books, Run Your Butt Off! and Walk Your Butt Off!
World Athletics ratified Kiptum’s record on February 6th. Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics, expressed his condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation after their tragic loss. He also highlighted the shocking and deeply saddening impact it has had on the athletic community.
Kiptum had an impressive 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 which sometimes saw him train up to 300 kilometers per week. The accident that took their lives occurred when Kiptum lost control of his Toyota Premio while driving on a highway near Eldoret township in western Kenya. Both men passed away on the scene while a third passenger was taken to hospital with injuries but is expected to recover fully.