Nairobi — Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum is dead. According to Police reports, Kiptum and his Rwandese coach Garvais Hakizimana passed away on the spot Sunday night in an accident along the Eldoret-Kaptagat Road.
This comes just less than a week after his marathon world record was ratified by World Athletics.
“The accident happened around 11pm. The car had three occupants; two died on the spot while one was taken to hospital,” Elgeyo Marakwet County Commander Peter Mulinge told Capital Sports.
It is a devastating end to a young life, whose career was just beginning, and what a way it had started. Kiptum became the first man to ever run a marathon in under 2:01 as he ran 2:00:35 in winning the Chicago Marathon last October.
The World record has been most recently ratified by World Athletics.
He had also been named in Kenya’s team for the Olympic Games in Paris next year, and was set to team up with his world record predecessor Eliud Kipchoge.
Kiptum was preparing to compete at this year’s Rotterdam Marathon, scheduled for April, which he hoped to use as a preparatory platform for the Olympics later in the year.
“The organisation is linked to my management. In 2022 I was supposed to run it, to make my debut but a slight injury stopped me. This will be the right time,” Kiptum said then, when he was confirmed to be heading to the Dutch city.
He added; “It’s a choice made in full conscience, in agreement with my wife, to focus 100 per cent on my goals.”
In Rotterdam, talk had been rife that the 24-year old would be attempting to become the first man to run a sub-two hour marathon in legally accepted conditions.
Many had anticipated that he would head back to London to defend his title, but he instead chose Rotterdam.
The 24-year old burst into the scene at the Valencia Marathon, where he ran the fastest ever debut over the distance in 2022, clocking 2:01:53, becoming only the third man in history to break two hours and two minutes and setting the then fourth-quickest time in history.
He then competed in his second major at the 2023 London Marathon, where he clinched victory 2:01:25, missing out on Kipchoge’s then world record by a mere 16 seconds.
Six months later in October 2023, Kiptum finally landed his hands on the coveted record in Chicago.
His death evokes memories of former 400m Hurdles World Champion Nicholas Bett, who also passed away in a road accident in 2018, shortly after arriving from the African Championships in Asaba, Nigeria.