In a tragic turn of events, marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a car crash in Kenya late Sunday. This was revealed by Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos, who went to the hospital where the bodies were taken.
Kiptum was 24 years old and on course to becoming a superstar of long-distance running. He had immediate success by setting the new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October, beating the mark of fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge. His record was ratified by international track federation World Athletics last week.
The crash happened on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of the high-altitude region that’s renowned as a training base for long-distance runners. A third person, a woman, was also in the car and was taken to the same hospital with serious injuries.
Family members of Kiptum were also with Chemos at the hospital to identify his body. Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei said he had sent a team of officials to the area after being informed of the late-night accident. The tragedy has left many people shocked and saddened, including World Athletics president Sebastian Coe who offered his condolences in a statement on Twitter: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” Coe wrote. “On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates, and the Kenyan nation.”