Kelvin Kiptum, winner of the 2023 London Marathon and world marathon record holder, died in a car accident on Sunday while driving in Kaptagat, Kenya. He was 24 years old.
According to The Guardian, authorities said Kiptum lost control of his vehicle at approximately 11 p.m. local time, colliding with a tree before eventually ending up in a ditch. Kiptum and his trainer, Gervais Hakizimana, were pronounced dead at the scene. A third person, who was a passenger in Kiptum’s vehicle, was rushed to Racecourse Hospital in Eldoret.
Kiptum’s death comes just a week after World Athletics ratified his world record of 2 hours, 0 minutes and 35 seconds, set in Chicago last October. Recently, Kiptum had announced his plans to attempt to become the first person in history to complete a marathon in under two hours in Rotterdam in April.
“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said in a statement. “On behalf of all of 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 who leaves an incredible legacy, he will be greatly missed,” Coe said.
Just a few years after making his international debut as a teenager in 2019, Kiptum made his marathon debut in December 2022 and quickly rose to stardom with a victory in Valencia. She would win the London Marathon with a course record just a few months later and then, in just her third marathon, she would set the world record in Chicago, surpassing the previous mark set by Eliud Kipchoge by 34 seconds.
Kiptum had been named 2023 World Athlete of the Year in men’s non-stadium events. His death was met with great commiseration not only in World Athletics, but also in Kenya, where he quickly became a civic hero.
“Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, world record holder and Kenyan athletics icon. Along with his coach, he tragically passed away in an accident this evening,” read a statement from Kenya’s Prime Minister. , Raila Odinga. “Our nation mourns the profound loss of a true hero.”
This story was originally published by CBS Sports on February 11, 2024.