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Kelvin Kiptum death - updates: Kipchoge pays tribute as marathon world record holder passes in Kenya accident

The Kenyan won the London Marathon last year and beat compatriot and legendary runner Eliud Kipchoge’s world record later in 2023 at the Chicago Marathon

Jack Rathborn
Monday 12 February 2024 16:54 GMT
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Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies aged 24

Sport is mourning after Kelvin Kiptum, the men’s marathon world record holder, died in a road accident in Kenya late on Sunday night. Kiptum and his coach Garvais Hakizimana died in a collision in the Kaptagat area.

Kiptum burst onto the marathon scene over the last two years, winning the 2023 London Marathon and then stunning the running world to break compatriot Eliud Kipchoge’s world record at the Chicago Marathon in October in 2:00:35. Kiptum was targeting the Rotterdam Marathon in April next, with excitement building at the prospect of an attempt to break the two-hour barrier in an official race for the first time, following Kipchoge’s unofficial run of 1:59:40.2 in Vienna in 2019.

World Athletics president Seb Coe has led the tributes to Kiptum - follow the latest news and reaction to the tragic news below:

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Sir Mo Farah says Kelvin Kiptum should have enjoyed ‘incredible career’

Sir Mo Farah is the latest athletics star to pay tribute to Kiptum, hailing a “special talent”.

Lawrence Ostlere12 February 2024 12:22
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Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

Images have emerged of the wreckage in which Kenya’s marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach were killed.

Pictures show the car being towed from the scene of the traffic accident along the Kaptagat-to-Eldoret highway, near the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, Kenya.

(REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
Lawrence Ostlere12 February 2024 12:07
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Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

Hakizimana, 36, was a former distance runner who still holds Rwanda’s record for the 3,000 metres steeplechase. He met first Kiptum when he was training in the Rift Valley and worked with him intensively before last year’s London marathon.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana,” Kenya’s twice Olympic champion and 800m world record holder David Rudisha said in a post on X.

“This is a huge loss.”

Lawrence Ostlere12 February 2024 11:45
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Kelvin Kiptum’s story had barely started - his tragic death robs athletics of an extraordinary talent

“In the hunt to find sporting meaning during the strange supporter absence of the 2020 Covid pandemic summer, the Brussels Diamond League opted to stage a rare assault on the one-hour world record.

“Although 13 men lined up on the King Baudouin Stadium startline, the race was little more than a one-man time trial geared solely around Britain’s four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah. Everyone else was there to aid his cause.

“Among the faceless dozen was an unknown Kenyan. At that point in his career, Kelvin Kiptum’s international pedigree was almost non-existent. A year earlier, he had led for some time at the Rotterdam Marathon, although the word ‘Pace’ located where his name would otherwise have been written on his bib betrayed his lowly status as a bit-part in a bigger picture.

“Just as he had on that day, Kiptum failed to finish the one-hour run in the Belgian capital, managing to stick to Farah’s heel for all of 18 minutes before the pace became too tough and he soon dropped out. No one watching would have gleaned the slightest inkling of what he might become.

“The tragic death of one of athletics’ finest ever talents will ensure the Kiptum story is one that remains forever unfinished; barely even started, in fact.”

Kelvin Kiptum: Tragic death robs athletics of an extraordinary talent

At 24, the athletics world was only starting to understand how gifted a talent it held in Kiptum. He was destined to go on to claim further marathon records, but tragedy has denied sport of one of its brightest young stars

Jamie Braidwood12 February 2024 11:03
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Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

Kiptum, a product of the high altitude region of Kenya which has produced most of the country’s world renowned distance runners, started his international career on the half-marathon circuit in 2019.

He made an explosive entry into the full 42.195km distance by running the then fourth fastest time on record (2.01.53) to win the 2022 Valencia Marathon on debut.

That race revealed his trademark approach to marathons, running with the pack for the first 30kms and then upping the pace and racing off alone for the remainder of the race.

He used the same tactics to win last April’s London Marathon in a course record of 2:01:25 and again in Chicago in October to take 34 seconds off Kipchoge’s world mark.

That was to be his final race before his untimely death, which came only a week after World Athletics had ratified his world record.

Kelvin Kiptum wins the 2023 London Marathon (Getty Images)
Lawrence Ostlere12 February 2024 11:02
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Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

Despite the late hour, tributes were paid to Kiptum by senior Kenyan politicians and government officials.

“Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, World Record holder and Kenyan athletics icon,” former Kenya prime minister Raila Odinga said on social media platform X.

“My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”

Lawrence Ostlere12 February 2024 10:15
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Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

According to the police report, Kiptum was driving his Rwandan coach and a woman in a car near the Rift Valley village where he was born when the accident occurred.

The athlete lost control of the vehicle and veered off the road into a ditch, travelling for about 60 metres along it before crashing into a large tree.

Kiptum and Gervais Hakizimana died at the scene but the woman, 24-year-old Sharon Chepkurui Kosgei Keiyo, survived with serious injuries and was treated at a local hospital.

Kelvin Kiptum died at the scene

Lawrence Ostlere12 February 2024 09:33
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Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

“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 World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, team mates and the Kenyan nation. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”

Lawrence Ostlere12 February 2024 08:45
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Recap – Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

Kenya’s marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach were killed in a traffic accident in the Rift Valley on Sunday, cutting short the promising career of the only man to have run the endurance classic in less than two hours and one minute.

The 24-year-old set the world record at the Chicago Marathon in October with a time of two hours and 35 seconds to surpass the mark of 2:01:09 run by compatriot Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin in 2022.

Kiptum, who clocked three of the seven fastest marathon times in history, had been hoping to become the first man to run the marathon in under two hours in race conditions at Rotterdam in April as well as make his Olympic debut in Paris in July.

Kelvin Kiptum with the trophy after winning the Men’s elite race during the TCS London Marathon in 2023 (John Walton/PA) (PA Archive)
Lawrence Ostlere12 February 2024 07:55
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Former Olympian Bernard Lagat has reacted to the passing of Kelvin Kiptum.

Lagat, who has competed for Kenya and the United States over a glittering career and participated in the marathon, took to social media to reveal his shock.

Jack Rathborn12 February 2024 07:00

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