Kenyan marathon prodigy Kiptum and coach killed in tragic accident

The running world has been thrown into mourning following the unexpected deaths of Kelvin Kiptum, the Kenyan marathon prodigy known for his record-breaking prowess, and his Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana. The two died in a catastrophic road accident on Sunday night in Kenya, inflicting a deep sense of loss on the athletics fraternity.

The fatal incident occurred at around 11:00 p.m., as reported by the Elgeyo Marakwet Police Commander, Peter Mulinge. Kiptum was driving a Toyota Premio when he tragically lost control, causing the vehicle to veer off the road and hit a tree. Kiptum and Hakizimana died at the scene, while another person was rushed to a medical facility for treatment.

The shocking news was further confirmed by the Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos who, upon learning of the tragedy, went to the hospital in Eldoret. The accident happened on the stretch between Eldoret and Kaptagat, an area synonymous with breeding world-class racers.

Kiptum’s legacy in the marathon landscape is nothing short of remarkable. His crowning glory came with his world record triumph at the Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2023, where he completed the 26.2-mile course in an incredible 2 hours and 35 seconds. This remarkable achievement was even more impressive as it was only his third marathon race.

In 2023, Kiptum continued to blaze trails in the marathon space, winning the London Marathon with a time of 2:01:25, the second fastest marathon time ever. His rise in the sport has shown unwavering dedication and incredible ability.

Kiptum’s foray into the realm of elite running began in his early teens. At only 13 years old, he was already drawing inspiration from the marathon greats who were training on the local field. His first taste of international recognition came when he emerged victorious in the 2018 Eldoret Half Marathon at the age of eighteen.

His international debut came at the 2019 Lisbon Half Marathon, where he finished fifth, with a time of under one hour. But his debut in the 2022 Valencia Marathon really cemented his status as a force to be reckoned with, setting a then debut record of 2:01:53 after a decisive break past the 30km mark.

The loss of Kiptum has left a void in the heart of the racing community. His untimely passing underscores the unpredictable nature of existence, even for individuals who represent the pinnacle of physical excellence.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe expressed collective sadness and respect for the young marathoner in a statement, lamenting the loss of “an incredible athlete who has left an incredible legacy”. Kiptum’s death not only robs the sporting world of a phenomenal talent, but also serves as a poignant reminder of the lasting impact he had in his short but stellar career.

Leave a Comment