Kelvin Kiptum, Record-Setting Marathoner, Dead at 24

He and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in an auto accident

Kelvin Kliptum
Kelvin Kiptum after winning the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

Less than six months ago, Kelvin Kiptum competed in the Chicago Marathon and set a new record in the process. Sunday brought with it tragic news out of Kenya, where both Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in an automotive accident.

As reported by CNN, the two men died outside of the city of Eldoret when their vehicle — a Toyota Premio — crashed. Authorities cited in CNN’s reporting revealed that there was a third person in the Premio who survived the crash, albeit with serious injuries.

Peter Mulinge, Elgeyo Marakwet County’s Police Commander, summarized the accident. “He lost control, veered off the road, entered into a ditch 60 meters away and hit a big tree,” Mulinge told CNN.

On social media, numerous observers of elite running mourned the tragedy. Sports business analyst Joe Pompliano spoke for many when he lamented what Kiptum might have accomplished in the coming years. “He was going to rewrite the record book,” Pompliano wrote.

Kelvin Kiptum Just Set a New Marathon World Record
His Chicago Marathon win was one for the record books

Kiptum’s record-setting time of 2:00:35 in the 2023 Chicago Marathon was 34 seconds faster than the previous record, set a year earlier by Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin. It was, as ESPN reported at the time, just the third time Kiptum had competed in a marathon.

“I knew one day I would be a world-record holder,” he said after completing the race. Less than a week ago, World Athletics officially ratified Kiptum’s record-setting achievement.

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