In a tragic turn of events, marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a car crash in Kenya late Sunday. The news was confirmed by Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos, who was at the hospital where the bodies were taken.
Kiptum, who was just 24 years old, had been on course to becoming a superstar of long-distance running. He set a new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October, beating the mark of fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge. His success did not stop there as he won the London and Chicago races last year, two of the most prestigious marathons in the world.
The crash happened on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of the high-altitude region that’s renowned as a training base for long-distance runners. Family members of Kiptum were also with Chemos to identify his body. A third person, a woman, was also in the car and was taken to the same hospital with serious injuries.
Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei said he had sent a team of officials to the area after being informed of the late-night accident. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe was one of the first to offer his condolences in a statement on X, formerly Twitter. “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” Coe wrote. “On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates, and the Kenyan nation.”