Kenya Kiptum Killed
FILE - Kelvin Kiptum of Kenya celebrates his Chicago Marathon world record victory in Chicago's Grant Park on Sunday, Oct. 8, 2023. According to a fellow athlete, Kiptum died in a car crash in Kenya late Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024. He was 24. (Eileen T. Meslar/Chicago Tribune via AP)

Marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum dies in car crash in Kenya


Marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach died in a car crash in Kenya late Sunday, a fellow athlete who went to the hospital and saw Kiptum's body said.

Kiptum was 24 and on course to be a superstar of long-distance running.

Kiptum and his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in the crash at around 11 p.m., said Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos, who was at the hospital where the bodies were taken.

The crash happened on a road between the towns of Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, she said, in the heart of the high-altitude region that's renowned as a training base for long distance runners.

Chemos said she was among a group of athletes who had gone to the hospital in Eldoret after hearing the news of the crash. Family members of Kiptum were also with them to identify his body, Chemos said.

Kenyan media reported that a third person, a woman, was in the car and was taken to the same hospital with serious injuries.

Kiptum was the first man to run the marathon in under 2 hours, 1 minute. He set the new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October, beating the mark of fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge.

Kiptum's record was ratified by international track federation World Athletics last week.

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.

Kiptum had immediate success by running the fastest time ever by a marathon debutant at the 2022 Valencia Marathon. He won the London and Chicago races last year, two of the most prestigious marathons in the world.

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe was one of the first to offer his condolences in a statement on X, formerly 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."

"It was only 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 leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly,” Coe wrote.

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@ Jay - I agree that Kenyan athletes are more than a little suspect - and have been for a long time. Having them sit out a couple of Olympics might encourage them to clean things up.

RIP to Kelvin. He likely would have been first to break that 2hr barrier. There was no suspicion over him as far as I know.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Firstly, RIP to Kelvin. Secondly, we have to ask ourselves why Kenyan distance athletes have been so dominant for so long. High-altitude training locations ideal for developing aerobic capacity and red blood cell production? A supportive community and coaching infrastructure? A simple diet high in complex carbohydrates? Genetics?

No, no, no and no.

It's all due to the widespread covert abuse of the hormone Erythropoietin - EPO.

In 2023, no fewer than 25 Kenyan runners were suspended by WADA for EPO. Many of these include big names and illegitimate record holders: Diana Kipyokei, Betty Wilson Lempus, Marius Kipserem, Philemon Kacheran, Justus Kimutai, Mark Kangogo, Lawrence Cherono, Keneth Kiprop Renju, Ibrahim Mukunga Wachira, Stella Barsosio, Purity Changwony, Kumari Taki... the list goes on.

These are just the ones who were caught. Athletes living and training in the remote Rift Valley region do so because they are far less likely to run into bumbling doping control officers from Montreal or Lausanne.

The EPO problem in Kenya is so bad that, not surprisingly, there are calls for Kenya to join Russia in being banned from international athletics.

Doping is an embarrassment and immoral, and is a menace which kills the credibility of Kenyan athletes and the country. I know a lot of Kenyan athletes read the forums here at Japan Today, so I encourage each and every one of you to run clean and leave an admirable legacy... even if your times inevitably suffer in the process.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sad ending for his life and career.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

My your soul Rest In Peace Kelvin Kiptum.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

That's why I don't recommend riding a car...I never bought one...I always ride bicycle.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Sad news for the sport :(

5 ( +5 / -0 )

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