In a tragic turn of events, marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a car crash in Kenya late Sunday. The accident occurred on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of the high-altitude region that is renowned as a training base for long-distance runners. Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos, who was at the hospital where the bodies were taken, confirmed the news to reporters.
Kiptum was 24 years old and had been on course to becoming a superstar of long-distance running. His record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon last October broke the world record set by Eliud Kipchoge. Kiptum’s achievement was ratified by international track federation World Athletics just last week.
The crash claimed the lives of three people, including Kiptum and his coach. A third person, a woman, was also injured in the accident and taken to the same hospital with serious injuries. Kiptum’s family members were also present at the hospital to identify his body.
Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei sent a team of officials to the area after being informed of the late-night accident. The loss of such talented athletes is deeply felt not only by their families but also by the entire Kenyan nation and international athletic community.
World Athletics president Sebastian Coe was among those who offered condolences in a statement on Twitter. “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” he wrote. “On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates, and the Kenyan nation.”