The athletics fraternity in Kenya and the world has been thrown into mourning as marathon world record holder Kevin Kiptum and his Rwandese coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a road accident on Sunday night.
According to Police reports, Kiptum, 24, and his coach, died in an accident around 11pm EAT.
“The accident happened around 11pm. The car had three occupants, two died on the spot while one was taken to hospital,” Elgeyo Marakwet County Commandant Peter Mulinge is quoted as saying by Capital Sports.
Daily Nation also reports that Mulinge explained the Toyota Premie vehicle, driven by Kiptum lost control, veered off the road and hit a tree, finally landing on a ditch.
A police Occurence Book (OB) report seen by SportsLeo confirmed the same, with Kiptum having been driving the car with his coach and another female passenger.
“It happened that one Kelvin Kiptum – The Chicago Marathon World Record Holder was driving his m/vehicle Toyota Premio carrying two passengers namely Gervais Hakizimana Rwanda male adult aged 37yrs-his coach and Sharon Chepkurui Kosgei Keiyo/f/adult aged 24yrs from Eldoret heading towards Ravine,” the statement from the Elgeyo Marakwet County Police reads.
Kiptum lost control of his vehicle
It adds; “Upon reaching the location of the accident, he lost control and veered off-road entering into a ditch on his left side. He drove in the ditch for about 60metres before hitting a big tree. As a result Kiptum and Hakizimana died on the spot whereas Sharon Chepkurui Kosgei escaped with serious injuries and was rushed to Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital for treatment.”
It was only last week that Kiptum’s World Record, set at the Chicago Marathon last October, was ratified by World Athletics. And last year, December 11, at the World Athletics Awards, he was named ‘World Athlete of the Year – Out of Stadium’.
World Athletics boss Seb Coe led the way in eulogizing the budding marathon star, saying the athletics world had lost a great man.
“On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly,” World Athletics boss Seb Coe said in a statement posted on social platform X.
Top ranking government officials led by Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi expressed their deepest shock on learning of the budding athlete’s death.
“He made an indelible mark not only through his achievements but also through mentorship and leadership, guiding aspiring athletes to reach their full potential. The legacy he leaves behind is a testament to passion and commitment to excellence,” Mudavadi remarked.
President William Ruto also conveyed his condolences.
Kiptum lauded as extraordinary athlete
“An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark in the globe. Our thoughts are with the family and the sporting fraternity. Rest In Peace,” a statement from the Head of State read.
Kiptum became the first man to ever run a marathon in under 2:01 as he ran 2:00:35 in winning the Chicago Marathon last October.
He had also been named in Kenya’s team for the Olympic Games in Paris next year, and was set to team up with his world record predecessor Eliud Kipchoge.
Kiptum was preparing to compete at this year’s Rotterdam Marathon, scheduled for April, which he hoped to use as a preparatory platform for the Olympics later in the year.
In Rotterdam, talk had been rife that the 24-year old would be attempting to become the first man to run a sub-two hour marathon in legally accepted conditions.
Many had anticipated that he would head back to London to defend his title, but he instead chose Rotterdam.
The 24-year old burst into the scene at the Valencia Marathon, where he ran the fastest ever debut over the distance in 2022, clocking 2:01:53, becoming only the third man in history to break two hours and two minutes and setting the then fourth-quickest time in history.
He then competed in his second major at the 2023 London Marathon, where he clinched victory 2:01:25, missing out on Kipchoge’s then world record by a mere 16 seconds.
Six months later in October 2023, Kiptum finally landed his hands on the coveted record in Chicago.
And now, while he chased the dream of becoming the first man to ever legally run a marathon in under two hours, his life has been brought to a screeching halt.,