In a heartfelt statement, Musalia Mudavadi, Kenya’s cabinet secretary, expressed his deepest condolences on the passing of Kelvin Kiptum. Mudavadi highlighted Kiptum’s remarkable talent and dedication to athletics as an inspiration to many. He also praised Kiptum’s mentorship and leadership, which guided aspiring athletes to reach their full potential.
Kiptum made significant strides in long-distance running last year, breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s world record at the Chicago Marathon and dominating the London Marathon with the third-fastest time over the 26.2 mile distance. He was considered a once-in-a-generation talent and was favored for Olympic gold in Paris, where Kipchoge aimed for a hat-trick of marathon titles. In October, Kiptum set a historic time of 2hr 0m 35sec during his final weeks of training for the Rotterdam Marathon in April and being selected for the Kenyan team for the Olympic marathon in August.
Despite Eliud Kipchoge being the first human to run a marathon under two hours in a controlled time trial event with pacers, Kiptum looked increasingly likely to achieve that feat in ratified race conditions. In recognition of his outstanding performance, he was awarded the title of ‘off track’ athlete of the year by World Athletics in December. Prior to becoming a successful runner, Kiptum began serious running barefoot while herding cattle for his family and admitted that he had never previously set foot on an athletics track.