Marathon Record-Holder Dead at 24

Kelvin Kiptum celebrates after winning the 2023 Chicago Marathon and setting a world record time of 2:00.35 last October. (Getty)

Kenyan marathon record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, considered a shoe-in for the Olympics in Paris this summer, was killed in a car crash along with his coach. Kiptum was just 24 years old.

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Kiptum was driving the vehicle when it crashed into a tree in the single-car accident, police said.

“He was only 24,” Kenyan President William Ruto said in a statement offering his condolences. “Kiptum was our future.”

The Associated Press reports:

Kiptum and his Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana, were killed in the crash at around 11 p.m., police said. It happened near the town of Kapsabet in western Kenya, in the heart of the high-altitude region that’s renowned as a training base for the best distance runners from Kenya and across the world.

Kiptum was born and raised in the area.

A third person, a 24-year-old woman, was also in the car and was taken to a hospital with serious injuries, police said. Kiptum and Hakizimana died at the scene.

Athletes and family members, including Kiptum’s father, gathered at the hospital mortuary where the bodies of Kiptum and his coach were taken. One of the athletes, former women’s steeplechase world champion Milcah Chemos, struggled to speak while breaking down in tears.

“I have no words to explain the loss of Kelvin,” she said.

Kenneth Kimaiyo, a friend of Kiptum, said he arrived at the crash scene soon after it happened and Kiptum had been thrown out of the car. Photos showed the silver car with a badly mangled roof and one of the doors flung open.

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