In a tragic turn of events, 24-year-old marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a car crash in Kenya late Sunday night. The accident occurred on the road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, where many long-distance runners train at high altitude.
Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos, who was at the hospital where the bodies were taken, confirmed the news of their deaths. According to Chemos, she was part of a group of athletes who had gone to the hospital after hearing about the crash. Family members of Kiptum were also present to identify his body.
Kiptum was on course to become a superstar in long-distance running when he set the new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October, beating Eliud Kipchoge’s previous mark. His achievement was ratified by international track federation World Athletics last week.
Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei said that he had dispatched a team of officials to investigate the accident that took place late Sunday night. The third person involved in the crash was reportedly a woman who sustained serious injuries and was taken to hospital along with Kiptum and Hakizimana.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe paid tribute to Kiptum’s legacy by offering condolences on behalf of all World Athletics in a statement on X (formerly Twitter). Coe wrote that it was only earlier this week that he officially ratified Kiptum’s historic time at the Chicago Marathon, just days before his untimely death. He lamented on how much they would miss him but celebrated his incredible achievements as an athlete and how much he had left behind as an inspiration for many aspiring runners around the world.