Kelvin Kiptum, a 24-year-old long-distance runner from Kenya, has passed away. Musalia Mudavadi, the cabinet secretary in Kenya, expressed deep sadness over the loss and praised Kiptum’s remarkable talent and dedication to athletics as an inspiration to many. Mudavadi also highlighted Kiptum’s mentorship and leadership, which guided aspiring athletes to reach their full potential. He described the legacy that Kiptum leaves behind as a testament to passion and commitment to excellence.
In the past year, Kiptum made significant strides in long distance running, breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s world record at the Chicago Marathon and dominating the London Marathon with the third fastest time over 26.2 miles. He was widely considered a once-in-a-generation talent and was favored for Olympic gold in Paris, where Kipchoge was going for a hat-trick of marathon titles. His historic time of 2hr 0m 35sec set in October was set during his final weeks of training for the Rotterdam Marathon in April and being selected for the Kenyan team for the Olympic marathon in August.
Even though Eliud Kipchoge was the first human to run a marathon under two hours in a controlled time trial event with pacers, Kiptum looked increasingly likely to achieve that feat in ratified race conditions. In December 2021, he was awarded the title of ‘off track’ athlete of the year by World Athletics. It is worth noting that he began serious running barefoot while also herding cattle for his family and had never previously set foot on an athletics track.