In a tragic turn of events, marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana passed away in a car crash in Kenya late Sunday. 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 on track to become a superstar in long-distance running.
The accident occurred on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of the high-altitude region that is known as a training base for long-distance runners. Chemos said she was part of a group of athletes who went to the hospital after hearing about the crash. Family members of Kiptum were also present to identify his body.
According to Kenyan media, there was a third person in the car, a woman, who was taken to the same hospital with serious injuries. Kiptum set the new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in 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 the area after being informed about the accident. Kiptum had immediate success by running the fastest time ever by a marathon debutant at the 2022 Valencia Marathon and won both London and Chicago races last year, two of the most prestigious marathons in