Kelvin Kiptum Triumphs in Chicago Marathon, Shatters Records
Kelvin Kiptum Triumphs in Chicago Marathon, Shatters Records

Kelvin Kiptum Cheruiyot, the fastest marathoner in history with a world record of 2:00.35 set last October in Chicago, died Sunday from a car accident in Kaptagat, Kenya, at the age of 24.

Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, were driving near their training base in Elgeyo-Marakwet County (formerly Rift Valley Province) in Western Kenya late Sunday evening when their Toyota Premio veered off the road and hit a tree. Both Kiptum and Hakizimana were pronounced dead at the scene.

A third person in the car, an unidentified woman, was transported to a local hospital with critical injuries. ALSO READ: Noah Lyles and Aleia Hobbs Clinch Victory with Personal Bests at U.S. Indoor Championships

Kiptum and his Rwandan coach had partnered to become the first person to run an official marathon in under 2:01:00.

The rising Kenyan marathon star was responsible for three of the seven fastest marathons in history. He came to global prominence after breaking countryman Eliud Kipchoge’s world record of 2:01:09 last fall in Chicago, in only his third marathon.

He won the London Marathon earlier in 2023 with the second fastest time ever, 2:01:25. He is also the only person to break 2 hours and 2 minutes three times, achieving it in his maiden marathon in Valencia in December 2022 with a time of 2:01:53.

Reactions poured in Sunday and Monday from every corner of the globe.

Sebastian Coe, President of World Athletics, who had only ratified his record a week ago, stated, “On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates, and the Kenyan nation,” posted on X (formerly Twitter).

“An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy; we will miss him dearly,” he continued.

The President of Kenya, William Ruto, painfully acknowledged the potential that was cut short.

“He was only 24, yet, as a hero, triumphed in Valencia, Chicago, London, and in other top competitions. His mental strength and discipline were unmatched. Kiptum was our future,” Kenyan President William Ruto said in a statement and post on X.

Fellow Kenyan world-record-holder (in the 800m), David Rudisha, responded, “I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana,” said Rudisha.

“My condolences to the families, friends, the athletic fraternity, and Kenya at large. This is a huge loss.”

Kiptum is survived by his wife, two children, and his parents.

In an interview with Citizen TV Kenya, his father, Samson Cheruiyot, recalled that in a conversation he had with his only son (and child) Saturday night, Kiptum told him he was in peak condition for the upcoming Rotterdam Marathon in April, expecting to complete it in under two hours, aiming to lower his record to between 1:58 and 1:59.

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