Shock in athletics: Kelvin Kiptum, owner of the world record in marathon, has died

The 24-year-old Kenyan died in a car accident with his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. On October 8 of last year, he had set the world record by winning in Chicago with a time of 2h 00:35 and many imagined him as the man who could run under two hours for the first time in history.

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Kelvin Kiptum died aged 24 in a car accident
Credit. @ChiMarathon
Kelvin Kiptum died aged 24 in a car accident Credit. @ChiMarathon

The Kenyan Kelvin Kiptum, owner of the world record in marathon, died this Sunday at the age of 24 along with his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, in a car accident that occurred on the road between Eldoret and Kaptagat.

According to Peter Mulinge, police commander of Elgeyo Marakwet, the accident occurred around 23pm in Kenya and it was Kiptum who was driving the vehicle.

Kiptum set the world record on October 8 of last year when he won the Chicago Marathon with a time of 2h 00:35, which allowed him to break the mark that his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge (2h 01:09) had set on September 25, 2022, in Berlin.


The new world record was ratified just five days ago by World Athletics and its president, Sebastian Coe, was moved by the news: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. On behalf of all of World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the nation of Kenya.”

“It wasn’t until earlier this week in Chicago, where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon world record, that I was able to officially confirm his historic time. Kelvin was an incredible athlete who leaves an incredible legacy, and he will be greatly missed,” Coe added.

The Chicago Marathon was only the third for Kiptum, which premiered in December 2022 in Valencia with the fastest time in history for a rookie (2h. 01:53). His second appearance was on April 23, 2023 in London and he won with 2h 01:25, setting a new record for the competition and being only 16 seconds behind the world record.

“I enjoy marathons. I love it, I’m happy,” said the young Kenyan after the victory in London and six months later he would enter his name in the great history of athletics.

Kiptum was born on December 2, 1999 in the village of Chepsamo, in Chepkorio, 30 km from Eldoret. He was married to Asenath Rotich, and had two children. He worked on his family’s farm and grew up in the Rift Valley, watching the world’s best marathon runners train. At 13, he ran the Family Bank Eldoret Half Marathon for the first time, which he won in 2018, and the following year he had his first international foray into the Lisbon Half Marathon.

Already trained by Hakizimana, in 2022 he made the leap to the marathon and in Valencia he won with the fourth fastest time in history. Thus, he became the third man to lower the two hours and two minutes together with Kipchoge and the Ethiopian Kenenisa Bekele. In London, he was on the verge of the world record and eventually broke it in Chicago by 34 seconds. In April he was due to race in Rotterdam and was going to be one of the great figures at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games. Many thought he might be the first man to lower the two hours.