Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum has died at the age of 24, the former prime minister of Kenya said on Sunday night.
The distance running sensation and his coach, Rwanda's Gervais Hakizimana, reportedly died in a road accident in Kenya’s Kaptagat area at 11pm local time.
Kiptum made history last October when he clocked 2:00.35 to win the Chicago Marathon, smashing his fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge’s world record by 34 seconds.
He also won his first London Marathon last April in a course record of 2:01.25, which was then the second fastest marathon time ever. That followed his eye-catching victory on his marathon debut in Valencia in December 2022.
Kiptum would have been the favourite to win gold at this summer’s Olympics in Paris, in what was set to be an almighty showdown against his team-mate Kipchoge, the 39-year-old two-time defending champion.
Raila Odinga, Kenya’s prime minister from 2008 to 2013, wrote on X on Sunday night as cited by Sports Central: ‘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. ‘My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.’
World Athletics president Seb Coe said on Sunday night: ‘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. ‘It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon world record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time. ‘An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.’