Kelvin Kiptum, a 24-year-old marathon world record holder, and his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a car crash in Kenya on Sunday night. The news was confirmed by Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos, who was at the hospital where the bodies were taken.
The crash occurred on a road between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of the high-altitude region that is renowned as a training base for long-distance runners. Chemos said she was among a group of athletes who had gone to the hospital after hearing about the crash. Family members of Kiptum were also with her to identify his body.
According to Kenyan media reports, a third person, a woman, was also in the car and was taken to the same hospital with serious injuries. 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.
Kenyan athletics federation president Jackson Tuwei sent a team of officials to the area after being informed about the late-night accident. World Athletics president Sebastian Coe offered 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.”