World Athletics President Seb Coe led tributes to world marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum following his tragic death.
On Sunday night it was confirmed that marathon world record holder Kiptum had died at the age of 24 following a car accident in his native Kenya.
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.
His coach, Rwandan Gervais Hakizimana, also died in the traffic accident near Kaptagat, an area in the southwest of the country known as a training base for long-distance runners.
Following the tragic news, tributes have poured in from across the sport, with World Athletics president Coe posting an emotional message about the runner.
Kiptum, the marathon world record holder, died at the age of 24 following a car accident in his native Kenya.
World Athletics president Seb Coe has led tributes to marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum.
Coe took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to pay a touching tribute to the 24-year-old.
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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.”
Retired long-distance runner Sir Mo Farah took to Instagram to share his moving tribute on Kiptum’s death.
In a post on her story, Farah wrote: ‘Marathon WR Kelvin Kiptum has died in a car accident at the age of 24, how sad!!’
Tributes to the Kenyan flooded social media after Sunday’s devastating news.
Kenya’s Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba wrote on X: ‘Devastatingly disgusting!! Kenya has lost a special gem. Speechless.’
Meanwhile, opposition leader and former Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga said: ‘Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, world record holder and Kenyan athletics icon.
‘Along with their 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.”
The official London Marathon account also took to X, formerly known as Twitter, to pay tribute to the late athlete. They wrote: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the terrible news of the death of world marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana.
“The thoughts of everyone at the TCS London Marathon are with the family and friends of Kelvin and Gervais.”
Kiptum (left) and his trainer Gervais Hakizimana (right) died in a traffic accident in the Kaptagat area of Kenya at 11:00 p.m. local time.
Kenyan Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba wrote: “Devastatingly disgusting! Kenya has lost a special gem. Speechless.’
On Monday morning, details of the accident were revealed, 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.
He said he saw a man on a motorcycle helping Chepkemoi at the scene, who was shouting for help and was taken to Sanvanis dispensary before being taken to MTRH.
Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum died after crashing into a tree on Sunday, it was revealed
“We tried to save the coach because he was still breathing, but he died immediately,” said Kimaiyo, who added that he had known Kiptum for a long time because he often visited his shop in Chepkorio.
“Kiptum was lying under the car with the seat belt broken and he was already dead,” he revealed.
The newspaper adds that Kiptum lost control of his vehicle in the Kaptagat area along the Eldama-Eldoret ravine while 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.
He 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.”
Kenyan journalist Kipruto Lagat has posted on social media what he claims are photographs of the accident site.
Kiptum won his first London Marathon last April with a record 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.
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.