Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies after car crash

Key Points
  • World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a car crash in Kenya on Monday.
  • Kiptum ran a record two hours and 35 seconds in the Chicago Marathon, taking 34 seconds off the previous record.
  • He was due to compete at the Rotterdam Marathon in April.
World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a car crash in western Kenya that left a third passenger injured, police have said.
The 24-year-old was driving from Kaptaget to Eldoret in western Kenya around 11pm on Sunday local time (7am Monday AEDT) when the car rolled.
“The car had three occupants, two died on the spot, while one was taken to hospital. The two are Kiptum and his coach,” said Peter Mulinge, police commander for Elgeyo Marakwet County in western Kenya.

“It is Kiptum who was driving heading to Eldoret and the vehicle lost control and rolled, killing the two on the spot. A female passenger sustained injuries and has been rushed to hospital,” he told reporters.

Two men posing for a photo. They are holding a sign that reads "World Record".

Kelvin Kiptum’s coach Gervais Hakizimana (right) also died in the crash. Source: Getty, AFP / Kamil Krzaczynksi

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe said he was “shocked and saddened to learn of the devastating loss”.

“On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation,” Coe said in a statement.
“An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”
Kiptum ran a world record two hours and 35 seconds in the Chicago Marathon in October, taking 34 seconds off fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge’s previous record.
Kiptum’s run marked the third time a men’s world record had been set on the streets of Chicago but the first time since Morocco’s Khalid Khannouchi in 1999.
At the time, Kiptum was only 23 years old and competing in his third marathon.

World Athletics said Kiptum had not raced since then, but he had been due to compete at the Rotterdam Marathon in April where he was hoping to become the first man to break two hours for the marathon on a record-eligible course.

Three men running a marathon as people watch on.

Kelvin Kiptum (left) ran a world record two hours and 35 seconds in the Chicago Marathon in October. Source: Getty / Xinhua News Agency

Kiptum won in his debut in 2022 at Valencia and then in the London Marathon in April last year.
Hakizimana, who is from Rwanda, was a runner who trained for years in Kenya, where he met Kiptum in the youth’s village of Chepkorio.
Ten years ago, barely a teen, Kiptum herded goats and sheep then began following Hakizimana and other runners as they trained.

By 2019, Kiptum ran two half-marathons in two weeks, going 60:48 in Copenhagen and 59:53 in Belfort, France, and began training with Hakizimana, who stayed in Kenya when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.