Kenya’s marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a traffic accident in the Rift Valley on Sunday night at around 11pm, cutting short the promising career of the man who wanted to run the marathon below 2 hours.
The 24-year-old set the world record at the Chicago Marathon in October with a time of two hours and 35 seconds to surpass the mark of 2:01:09 run by compatriot Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin in 2022.
The accident happened on the road between the towns of Eldoret and Kaptagat in Western Kenya.
According to Peter Mulinge the police commander of Elgeyo Marakwet County in western Kenya, the accident happened around 11pm and the car had three occupants.
“The accident happened around 11pm. The car had three occupants, two died on the spot, while one was taken to hospital. The two are Kiptum and his coach,” Mulinge said.
It was Kiptum who was driving heading to Eldoret and the vehicle lost control and rolled, killing the two on the sport. A female passenger sustained injuries and rushed to hospital,” he added.
Raila Odonga former presidential candidate was among those who paid his respect on his official X page say Kenya has lost a true hero.
“Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, World Record holder and Kenyan athletics icon. Together with his coach, they tragically passed on in an accident tonight,” Odonga stated.
“My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero,” he added.
According to World Athletics President Sebastian Coe, “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.”
“On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly,” read part of the statement.
He made his international debut in 2019 while still a teenager, and clocked 59:54 to finish fifth at the Lisbon Half Marathon. Before moving up to the classic distance, Kiptum reduced his half marathon PB to 58:42 at the 2020 Valencia Half Marathon. Between 2019 and 2021, Kiptum broke 60 minutes for the half marathon on six occasions.
In 2022 Valencia Marathon he crossed the finish long with a record of 2:01:53 for the fastest debut marathon in history and good enough for third place on the world all-time list behind distance legends Eliud Kipchoge and Kenenisa Bekele.