Car Accident Claims Life of Kelvin Kiptum

( – Kelvin Kiptum, 24, a marathon world record holder, and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, were killed in a car crash Feb. 11 in Kenya.

Kiptum, who was expected to be one of the top contenders for the gold medal at this summer’s Olympics in Paris, was killed in a single-car crash when the car he was driving veered off the road into a ditch before it hit a tree near Kapsabet in western Kenya. Kiptum was from the area, which is renowned as a training base for the best distance runners from around the world.

A 24-year-old woman in the car at the time of the accident also suffered serious injuries and was transported to a hospital.

In 2019, Kiptum made his international running debut, going on to make his marathon debut in December 2022 with a 2-hour, 1-minute, 53-second finish to win in Valencia. At his second marathon appearance, the 2023 London Marathon, he set a race record of 2:01.25, which, at the time, was the second-fastest mark in history.

Kiptum went on to set the marathon world record in the October 2023 Chicago Marathon with a time of 2:00.35, his third appearance in an elite marathon. International Track Federation World Athletics ratified his record a week before his death. He was set to compete in his first marathon since he broke the world record in April at the Rotterdam Marathon.

In a statement offering his condolences, Kenyan President William Ruto called Kiptum “our future.”

In a statement on Twitter, World Athletics President Sebastian Coe offered his condolences. He added that Kiptum was “an incredible athlete” who left “an incredible legacy.”

Kenya’s two-time Olympic champion in the 800 meters, David Rudisha, called Kiptum’s death “a huge loss.”

Kiptum is not the only Kenyan runner to be killed in a car crash. All-Africa Games silver medalist David Lelei was also killed in a 2010 car crash. In separate car crashes in 2018, marathon runner Francis Kiplagat and the gold medalist in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2015 world championships, Nicholas Bett, were killed.

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