Mourners have gathered to pay tribute to marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum, where the Kenyan star tragically died in a car accident on Sunday.
The runner died on Sunday at the age of 24 in his native Kenya, and his coach, Rwandan Gervais Hakizimana, 37, also died in the traffic accident near Kaptagat.
The southwestern area of Kenya is known as a training base for distance runners.
The public visited the accident site on Monday to pay tribute to the late star.
Other Kenyan long-distance stars were also photographed after seeing Kiptum’s body at the racecourse mortuary in the Rift Valley town of Eldoret.
Mourners gathered at the scene of the car crash that killed marathon star Kelvin Kiptum
Fellow runners and the public were somber after seeing Kiptum’s body.
Double Olympic champion Faith Kipyegon was photographed crying in the racecourse morgue
A woman was seen being carried away after seeing Kiptum’s body at the morgue.
Mourners gathered to pay their respects to Kiptum following his death on Sunday.
The world record holder and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a car accident
Kiptum and Hakizimana died after the marathon runner’s car crashed into a tree
Faith Kipyegon, double Olympic champion in the women’s 1,500m, was photographed crying after seeing Kiptum’s body.
A woman was photographed being carried out of the morgue.
New images have also been released showing the extent of the damage suffered by the sportsman’s Toyota Premio.
Details of the accident were revealed on Monday, and a passenger, Sharon Chepkemoi, 32, survived the incident after being taken to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret.
According to Kenneth Kimaiyo, one of the first responders at the crash site, via NationKiptum’s body was found under the vehicle with the runner already dead and Hakizimana still alive on a hill.
The newspaper adds that Kiptum, a father of two and son of a runner and volleyball player, lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a large tree in the Kaptagat area, along the Eldama-Eldoret ravine.
Kiptum was returning from Eldoret in Uasin Gishu County.
Jackson Tuwei, president of Athletics Kenya, said the vehicle veered off the road into a ditch before hitting a large tree 60 meters from the main road.
Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum died after crashing into a tree on Sunday
Kiptum is said to have lost control of his vehicle in the Kaptagat area along the Eldama-Eldoret ravine while returning from Eldoret in Uasin Gishu county.
Both Kiptum and Hakizimana died at the scene, with the former “lying under the car with his seat belt torn.”
Tuwei said the bodies were taken to hospital for an autopsy that will begin after the families have been informed and “all arrangements have been made.”
It added that the accident occurred at 20:00 GMT on Sunday, 23:00 local time, and that the vehicle suffered “serious damage” and was towed to a local police station for “inspection and further police measures.”
Kiptum made history in October when he clocked 2:00.35 to win the Chicago Marathon, breaking fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge’s world record by 34 seconds. His historic time was not officially ratified by World Athletics until last Tuesday.
World Athletics president Seb Coe led tributes to Kiptum on Sunday night, saying he was “an incredible athlete who leaves an incredible legacy.”
He wrote in X: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.
‘On behalf of all of World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the nation of Kenya.
‘It wasn’t until 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.”
Kiptum also won his first London Marathon last April with a record time of 2:01.25, which was then the second-fastest marathon time in history. He arrived after a striking victory in his debut in the Valencia marathon in December 2022.
Kelvin Kiptum, world marathon record holder, dies at 24
Kiptum (left) and his coach Gervais Hakizimana (right) died in a traffic accident in the Kaptagat area of Kenya at 11:00 p.m. local time.
Kiptum made history last October when he clocked 2:00.35 to win the Chicago Marathon.
World Athletics president Seb Coe paid tribute to Kiptum and Hakizimana on Sunday night
Kiptum would have been the favorite to win gold at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris, in what was to be an all-powerful showdown against teammate Kipchoge, the 39-year-old two-time defending champion.
Kipchonge turned to X to express his sadness at the news. One post, topped with the words “Rest in peace Kelvin,” read: “I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of marathon world record holder and rising star Kelvin Kiptum.
‘An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness.
‘I offer my deepest condolences to his young family. May God comfort you during this difficult time.’
Raila Odinga, Prime Minister of Kenya from 2008 to 2013, wrote in X: ‘Devastating news as we mourn the loss of an extraordinary individual, Kelvin Kiptum, world record holder and Kenyan athletics icon. Along with his coach, they tragically died tonight in an accident.
‘My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends and the entire athletic fraternity. “Our nation mourns the profound loss of a true hero.”
Kenyan Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba wrote: “Devastatingly disgusting! Kenya has lost a special gem. Speechless.’
London Marathon event director Hugh Brasher wrote: ‘Kelvin had the sport of marathon running at his feet and at his feet. He was a “once in a generation” athlete who was destined to redefine the boundaries of our sport.
The 24-year-old would have been the favorite to win gold at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris.
‘Three marathons, three victories. The fastest marathon debutant in Valencia, record holder of the London course and world record holder in Chicago, all in less than 12 months. His was a flame that burned very brightly and last night it was tragically extinguished.
‘As a sport, we mourn a life so tragically cut short, a talent and a spirit of work that was only beginning to be appreciated and a man we were only beginning to know.
‘Our thoughts are with his family and friends and with those of his coach Gervais.
“We hope Sharon Chepkurui Kosgei, who was traveling with them, makes a full and speedy recovery.”