Marathon Record Holder Kelvin Kiptum Dies In Kenya Aged 24, 4 Months After Winning Chicago Race

Kelvin Kiptum & Coach Die After Car Accident Outside Kenyan Town

Kelvin Kiptum, the current world record holder for the marathon, has passed away at the age of 24.

He was involved in a car accident in his home country of Kenya.

Source: Gideon Kimaiyo on X

Just four months ago, he took part in the Chicago Marathon, winning it with a record timing of 2 hours 35 seconds.

Kelvin Kiptum’s death revealed by Kenyan politician

Kiptum’s death was announced by Kenyan politician Gideon Kimaiyo on social media platform X (formerly known as Twitter) in a post on Monday (12 Feb) morning.

The MP said the runner and his coach Gervais Hakizimana were in a car on Eldoret-Kaptagat Road in Kenya when they met with a “tragic accident”.

Both men passed away as a result of the crash.

Kelvin Kiptum was driving car in Kenya when he crashed

The accident occurred on Sunday (11 Feb) night outside the Kenyan town of Eldoret, CNN quoted the local police as saying.

At 11pm local time, Kiptum was driving a Toyota Premio with his coach and a third occupant as passengers.

He lost control of the car and it veered off the road and entered a ditch 60m away, the police added. They then collided with a big tree.

While Kiptum and his coach passed away at the scene, the third occupant survived with serious injuries.

Source: World Athletics on X

He broke world record just 4 months ago

According to an obituary by World Athletics (WA), Kiptum was born in a Kenyan village named Chepsamo, 30km from Eldoret where the crash occurred.

He started running at around 13 years old and came in 10th place at his first half-marathon in Eldoret. In 2018, he won that race aged just 18.

During his international debut in 2019, he notched a time of 59:54 at the Lisbon Half Marathon to end up fifth.

Moving up to full marathons — typically about 26.2 miles (42.2km) — he competed in the 2022 Valencia Marathon and finished in 2:01:53, a course record and the fastest debut marathon in history, WA said.

At the 2023 London Marathon in April, he took it up a notch and won the race in a course-record timing of 2:01:25, which at the time was the second-fastest time ever for a marathon.

But his finest achievement was at the 2023 Chicago Marathon in October, just four months before his death.

He crossed the line with a world record of timing of 2:00:35, shaving 34 seconds off the previous record set in 2022.

Source: @junaidmuhammadd on X

A few days before his death on 6 Feb, WA said in a press release on X that they had ratified his record-breaking run.

WA president pays tribute to him

Thus, WA president Sebastian Coe said in a tribute on X that he and the organisation were “shocked and deeply saddened” to hear of Kiptum’s sudden passing.

He noted that he was able to officially ratify his historic time only earlier this week in Chicago.

He also presented Kiptum the World Athlete of the Year 2023 award at a ceremony in December.

Source: Seb Coe on X

Mr Coe said WA sent its deepest condolences to Kenya and the families, friends and teammates of the deceased.

WA will miss Kiptum dearly, he added, describing him as:

An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy.

Kenya’s President William Ruto said on X that Kiptum was “arguably one of the world’s finest sportsmen” with an “unmatched” mental strength and discipline.

He pointed out that the runner broke barriers to secure a marathon record, triumphing in top competitions despite being only 24.

Gone too soon

Kiptum was looking forward to competing at the Rotterdam Marathon on 14 Apr, he said in a 29 Dec interview with Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

It was expected that he would attempt to break the two-hour barrier at that race.

After that, he would’ve run at the 2024 Paris Olympic Games in Paris as he was already pre-selected for the Kenyan team.

Further afield, he was also aiming for the Tokyo 2025 World Championships.

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Featured image adapted from World Athletics on X and Gideon Kimaiyo on X.

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