Tragically, marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a car crash in Kenya on Sunday night. Milcah Chemos, a fellow athlete who was at the hospital where their bodies were taken, confirmed the news. Kiptum was just 24 years old and had been on course to become a superstar of long-distance running.
The crash happened on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of the high-altitude region that’s renowned for being a training base for long-distance runners. Chemos was among a group of athletes who went to the hospital after hearing about the accident, along with family members of Kiptum to identify his body.
Kenyan media reported that there was a third person in the car, a woman, who was also taken to the hospital with serious injuries. Kiptum had set an incredible new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon last October, beating Eliud Kipchoge’s mark. His record was ratified by World Athletics last week. Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei sent a team of officials to investigate the accident after being informed of it late at night.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe expressed his condolences in a statement on Twitter (formerly X), saying “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana.” He added that he had officially ratified Kiptum’s historic time just earlier this week in Chicago, where he set his marathon World Record. “It is an incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy,” Coe wrote on Twitter (formerly X).