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Kenyan long-distance runner & World Marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum perishes in a car accident

Kelvin Kiptum, renowned for holding the world marathon record, tragically lost his life at the young age of 24 due to a car crash on the Eldoret-Kaptagat highway, The newspaper has reported. News of his death has been shared by several Kenyan news writers as well. The authorities described the event as a “lone accident” in which Kiptum drove with two other people in the car.

Both he and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, died on the spot when the car they were in swerved off the road and collided with a tree. Another passenger, a woman, was badly hurt and is receiving medical care at Racecourse Hospital in Eldoret, according to the local police chief, Peter Mulinge, speaking to The Nation.

Last year, Kiptum made headlines by setting the fastest time ever in a marathon, finishing the Chicago Marathon in just 2 hours, 3 minutes, and 5 seconds. Known for his impressive running, he was getting ready to race in the upcoming Rotterdam Marathon in April to try to complete it in less than 2 hours. He was also likely to represent Kenya at the Paris Olympics. Kiptum’s father, Samson Cheruiyot, is heartbroken over his death, especially because Kiptum was his only son.

Speaking to Citizen TV in Kenya, the grieving father mentioned his concerns about who would help raise Kiptum’s children now that he’s no longer around. The car accident occurred late at night, around 11:00 PM local time. Police reports stated that Kiptum lost control of his car and ended up driving into a ditch on the left side of the road. After driving in the ditch for about 60 meters, the car hit a large tree.

Kelvin Kiptum’s achievements

Kiptum gained fame in the running world when he set a new world marathon record in Chicago in October 2023 at 2:00:35, surpassing Eliud Kipchoge’s previous record of 2:01:09, set in Berlin in 2022. This performance made him one of the top candidates to possibly run a marathon in under two hours. His debut at the 2023 London Marathon was impressive, with the second-fastest time ever at 2:01:25.

Moreover, at the 2022 Valencia Marathon, Kiptum ran the fastest first-time marathon recording a time under two hours and two minutes, a record for a marathon debut. Kiptum first gained international attention at the Lisbon Half Marathon in March 2019, where he came in fifth with a new personal best time of 59:54. Earlier, at just 18 years old, he claimed victory at the Eldoret Half Marathon in October 2018 with a time of 1:02:01.

In 2018, Kiptum jumped into his first significant race wearing shoes he didn’t own because buying a pair was too expensive for him. He’s part of a fresh group of Kenyan runners starting off by hitting the pavement, not the usual track beginnings leading to longer runs. Last year, Kiptum shared with BBC that his offbeat start was out of necessity, saying he couldn’t afford the costs tied to track training.

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