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2023 Chicago Marathon

Source: Michael Reaves / Getty

Kelvin Kiptum, the world record holder in the men’s marathon died in a car crash in his native Kenya over the weekend.

According to reports, the men’s marathon world record holder and rising long-distance running star Kelvin Kiptum died in a car crash in his native Kenya Sunday (Feb. 11), along with his coach, Gervais Hakizimana of Rwanda. Kiptum was 24 years old. A spokesperson for the police said that the crash occurred at 11 p.m. local time in the town of Kapsabet in Western Kenya. In relaying details of the one-car crash, they revealed Kiptum “lost control [of the vehicle] and veered off-road entering into a ditch on his left side.” The car then hit a tree, killing Kiptum and Hakizimana instantly. A third person, a 24-year-old woman, was severely injured and taken to the hospital.

Kiptum was a fast-rising star in the world of distance running, having set an astonishing record at the Chicago Marathon of 2 hours and 35 seconds, beating out compatriot Eliud Kipchoge in only his third competitive race. Kiptum had just been named to the Kenyan National Team along with Kipchoge, with many expecting him to attain the gold medal at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris. Hakizimana and Kiptum’s team had also stated their goal of having Kiptum run the 26 miles in under two hours at the Rotterdam Marathon this April. Kipchoge paid homage to Kiptum in a post on X, formerly Twitter, writing in part that he “had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness.”

Kiptum was from the area around Kaspabet, regarded as the premier training grounds for the best long-distance runners in the world due to its high altitudes. The father of two started running on the road instead of beginning on the track as most distance runners do because of a lack of resources. “I had no money to travel to track sessions,” he told the BBC in an interview last year.

Kenyan President William Rufo also offered his condolences in a statement, saying: “Kiptum was our future.” The death of the young runner is another tragic chapter in the history of Kenyan runners who’ve died in car accidents. David Lelei, the silver medalist from the All-Africa Games, died in a crash in 2010. The 2015 World Championship gold medalist Nicholas Bett, died in a crash in 2018. Marathon runner Francis Kiplagat also lost his life in a crash in 2018.

Kelvin Kiptum, Marathon World Record Holder, Dies In Kenya Car Crash At 24  was originally published on hiphopwired.com