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Kelvin Kiptum death - updates: Kipchoge pays tribute as marathon world record holder passes in Kenya accident

Sport is mourning after Kelvin Kiptum, the men’s marathon world record holder, died in a road accident in Kenya late on Sunday night. Kiptum and his coach Garvais Hakizimana died in a collision in the Kaptagat area.

Kiptum burst onto the marathon scene over the last two years, winning the 2023 London Marathon and then stunning the running world to break compatriot Eliud Kipchoge’s world record at the Chicago Marathon in October in 2:00:35. Kiptum was targeting the Rotterdam Marathon in April next, with excitement building at the prospect of an attempt to break the two-hour barrier in an official race for the first time, following Kipchoge’s unofficial run of 1:59:40.2 in Vienna in 2019.

World Athletics president Seb Coe has led the tributes to Kiptum - follow the latest news and reaction to the tragic news below:

Kelvin Kiptum dies, aged 24

  • Men’s marathon world record holder dies in road accident in Kenya

  • Kiptum’s coach Garvais Hakizimana also passes away after collision in Kaptagat area

  • Seb Coe pays tribute to 'incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy’

  • Sir Mo Farah says Kelvin Kiptum should have enjoyed ‘incredible career’

Kelvin Kiptum marathon results

16:45 , Mike Jones

  • Maraton Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP 2022: 2:01:53

  • TCS London Marathon 2023: 2:01:25

  • Bank of America Chicago Marathon: 2:00:35

Chicago Marathon pays tribute to Kenyan

16:30 , Mike Jones

“We are shocked and saddened by the news of the recent death of Kelvin Kiptum. Kelvin was a once in a generation athlete at the front of his career and there is no doubt in my mind that his greatest achievements were ahead of him. We were lucky to witness his greatness on the streets of Chicago.

“While he will be celebrated for his record-breaking performances, I will remember him as an incredible talent and as an even more magnificent person. The sport of marathon running has suffered a tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” – Carey Pinkowski, Executive Race Director, Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

“Kelvin Kiptum was the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion and world record holder (2:00:35).”

Abdi Nageeye pays condolences to Kiptum

16:16 , Lawrence Ostlere

Somali-Dutch long-distance runner Abdi Nageeye has recalled how he was running close to the site of Kiptum’s death only a few hours before the accident, and that he had commented in a recent interview about the potential danger on the roads in the area.

London Marathon hails reigning champion Kelvin Kiptum

15:27 , Lawrence Ostlere

Hugh Brasher, Event Director of the TCS London Marathon, said:

“Kelvin had the sport of marathon running in his feet and at his feet. He was a ‘once in a generation’ athlete who was set to redefine the boundaries of our sport. Three marathons, three wins. The fastest marathon debutant in Valencia, London’s course record holder and the world record holder in Chicago, all within the space of less than 12 months. His was a flame that burned so bright and last night was tragically put out.

“As a sport we mourn for a life so tragically cut short, a talent and a work ethos that was only starting to be appreciated and a man that we had only just started to know.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends and those of his coach Gervais.

“We hope that Sharon Chepkurui Kosgei, who was travelling with them, makes a full and speedy recovery.”

Kelvin Kiptum won the London Marathon last year (PA)
Kelvin Kiptum won the London Marathon last year (PA)

Respects paid by fellow athletics stars following Kelvin Kiptum’s death

14:15 , Lawrence Ostlere

KENYA’S OLYMPIC CHAMPION AND 800M WORLD RECORD HOLDER DAVID RUDISHA

“I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana. My condolences to the families, friends, athletic fraternity and Kenya at large. This is a huge loss.”

KENYA’S FIVE-TIME OLYMPIAN BERNARD LAGAT

“I’m shocked to hear of the tragic accident that took the lives of Kevin Kiptum (WR Holder- Marathon) and his Coach today. Gone too soon. RIP Champion”

AUSTRALIA’S ROBERT DE CASTELLA, FORMER WORLD CHAMPION MARATHON RUNNER

“Shocking tragedy! Just like that, a rising superstar is gone. Highlights how precious life is, and how vulnerable we all are.”

Kelvin Kiptum after winning the Chicago Marathon (AP)
Kelvin Kiptum after winning the Chicago Marathon (AP)

More tributes from Kenyan politics

13:06 , Lawrence Ostlere

KENYA’S FORMER PRIME MINISTER RAILA ODINGA

“My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”

KENYA’S SPORTS MINISTER ABABU NAMWAMBA

“Kenya has lost a special gem. Lost for words.”

Kenyan president William Ruto pays tribute to Kelvin Kiptum

12:38 , Lawrence Ostlere

“Kelvin Kiptum was a star. Arguably one of the world’s finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record.

“He was only 24 yet, as a hero, triumphed in Valencia, Chicago, London and in other top competitions. His mental strength and discipline were unmatched. Kiptum was our future.

“An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark in the globe. Our thoughts are with the family and the sporting fraternity. Rest In Peace.”

Kelvin Kiptum celebrates after winning in Chicago
Kelvin Kiptum celebrates after winning in Chicago

Sir Mo Farah says Kelvin Kiptum should have enjoyed ‘incredible career’

12:22 , Lawrence Ostlere

Sir Mo Farah is the latest athletics star to pay tribute to Kiptum, hailing a “special talent”.

Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

12:07 , Lawrence Ostlere

Images have emerged of the wreckage in which Kenya’s marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach were killed.

Pictures show the car being towed from the scene of the traffic accident along the Kaptagat-to-Eldoret highway, near the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, Kenya.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)
 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

11:45 , Lawrence Ostlere

Hakizimana, 36, was a former distance runner who still holds Rwanda’s record for the 3,000 metres steeplechase. He met first Kiptum when he was training in the Rift Valley and worked with him intensively before last year’s London marathon.

“I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana,” Kenya’s twice Olympic champion and 800m world record holder David Rudisha said in a post on X.

“This is a huge loss.”

Kelvin Kiptum’s story had barely started - his tragic death robs athletics of an extraordinary talent

11:03 , Jamie Braidwood

“In the hunt to find sporting meaning during the strange supporter absence of the 2020 Covid pandemic summer, the Brussels Diamond League opted to stage a rare assault on the one-hour world record.

“Although 13 men lined up on the King Baudouin Stadium startline, the race was little more than a one-man time trial geared solely around Britain’s four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah. Everyone else was there to aid his cause.

“Among the faceless dozen was an unknown Kenyan. At that point in his career, Kelvin Kiptum’s international pedigree was almost non-existent. A year earlier, he had led for some time at the Rotterdam Marathon, although the word ‘Pace’ located where his name would otherwise have been written on his bib betrayed his lowly status as a bit-part in a bigger picture.

“Just as he had on that day, Kiptum failed to finish the one-hour run in the Belgian capital, managing to stick to Farah’s heel for all of 18 minutes before the pace became too tough and he soon dropped out. No one watching would have gleaned the slightest inkling of what he might become.

“The tragic death of one of athletics’ finest ever talents will ensure the Kiptum story is one that remains forever unfinished; barely even started, in fact.”

Kelvin Kiptum: Tragic death robs athletics of an extraordinary talent

Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

11:02 , Lawrence Ostlere

Kiptum, a product of the high altitude region of Kenya which has produced most of the country’s world renowned distance runners, started his international career on the half-marathon circuit in 2019.

He made an explosive entry into the full 42.195km distance by running the then fourth fastest time on record (2.01.53) to win the 2022 Valencia Marathon on debut.

That race revealed his trademark approach to marathons, running with the pack for the first 30kms and then upping the pace and racing off alone for the remainder of the race.

He used the same tactics to win last April’s London Marathon in a course record of 2:01:25 and again in Chicago in October to take 34 seconds off Kipchoge’s world mark.

That was to be his final race before his untimely death, which came only a week after World Athletics had ratified his world record.

Kelvin Kiptum wins the 2023 London Marathon (Getty Images)
Kelvin Kiptum wins the 2023 London Marathon (Getty Images)

Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

10:15 , Lawrence Ostlere

Despite the late hour, tributes were paid to Kiptum by senior Kenyan politicians and government officials.

“Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, World Record holder and Kenyan athletics icon,” former Kenya prime minister Raila Odinga said on social media platform X.

“My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”

Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

09:33 , Lawrence Ostlere

According to the police report, Kiptum was driving his Rwandan coach and a woman in a car near the Rift Valley village where he was born when the accident occurred.

The athlete lost control of the vehicle and veered off the road into a ditch, travelling for about 60 metres along it before crashing into a large tree.

Kiptum and Gervais Hakizimana died at the scene but the woman, 24-year-old Sharon Chepkurui Kosgei Keiyo, survived with serious injuries and was treated at a local hospital.

Kelvin Kiptum died at the scene
Kelvin Kiptum died at the scene

Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

08:45 , Lawrence Ostlere

“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana,” World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said in a statement.

“On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, team mates and the Kenyan nation. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”

Recap – Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in car accident

07:55 , Lawrence Ostlere

Kenya’s marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach were killed in a traffic accident in the Rift Valley on Sunday, cutting short the promising career of the only man to have run the endurance classic in less than two hours and one minute.

The 24-year-old set the world record at the Chicago Marathon in October with a time of two hours and 35 seconds to surpass the mark of 2:01:09 run by compatriot Eliud Kipchoge in Berlin in 2022.

Kiptum, who clocked three of the seven fastest marathon times in history, had been hoping to become the first man to run the marathon in under two hours in race conditions at Rotterdam in April as well as make his Olympic debut in Paris in July.

Kelvin Kiptum with the trophy after winning the Men’s elite race during the TCS London Marathon in 2023 (John Walton/PA) (PA Archive)
Kelvin Kiptum with the trophy after winning the Men’s elite race during the TCS London Marathon in 2023 (John Walton/PA) (PA Archive)

07:00 , Jack Rathborn

Former Olympian Bernard Lagat has reacted to the passing of Kelvin Kiptum.

Lagat, who has competed for Kenya and the United States over a glittering career and participated in the marathon, took to social media to reveal his shock.

Kelvin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

06:00 , Jack Rathborn

Kiptum was a strong favourite to win gold at this summer at the Paris Olympics.

While fans were excited for a first head-to-head showdown with compatriot Eliud Kipchoge.

The tragic news now cuts short a blossoming career with immense potential given his three performance over the iconic distance and his ability and discipline to negative split already at such a young age.

Kelvin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

05:00 , Jack Rathborn

Kelvin Kiptum was one of World Athletics’ men’s athlete of the year last year.

Posing alongside fellow winners Noah Lyles and Armand 'Mondo' Duplantis, as World Athletics split the award, Kiptum was recognised outside the distance running world.

Kelvin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

04:00 , Jack Rathborn

Kelvin Kiptum’s professional career started back in 2018 at the Eldoret Half Marathon, running an impressive 1:02:01 at altitude. He would follow that up with a DNF in the Stockholm in May 2019, then a 28:17 in Utrecht in 2019 down in the 10k.

There would be another DNF in Brussels in 2020 at a one-hour race, with two half marathons in 2020: a 1:00:57 in Marugame and then 59:59 in Den Haag.

Kiptum's career at the shorter distances would finish in 2021, including a 28:27.87 in the 10k in Stockholm and two half marathons; one in Lens (59:35) and then Valencia half marathon in 59:02.

Kelvin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

03:00 , Jack Rathborn

Kelvin Kiptum marathon results

  • Maraton Valencia Trinidad Alfonso EDP 2022: 2:01:53

  • TCS London Marathon 2023: 2:01:25

  • Bank of America Chicago Marathon: 2:00:35

Kelvin Kiptum death - Chicago Marathon pays tribute to Kenyan

02:45 , Jack Rathborn

“We are shocked and saddened by the news of the recent death of Kelvin Kiptum. Kelvin was a once in a generation athlete at the front of his career and there is no doubt in my mind that his greatest achievements were ahead of him. We were lucky to witness his greatness on the streets of Chicago.

“While he will be celebrated for his record-breaking performances, I will remember him as an incredible talent and as an even more magnificent person. The sport of marathon running has suffered a tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.” – Carey Pinkowski, Executive Race Director, Bank of America Chicago Marathon.

“Kelvin Kiptum was the 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon champion and world record holder (2:00:35).”

Kelvin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

02:30 , Jack Rathborn

Kenya’s minister for sports, Ababu Namwamba, announced on X: “Devastatingly sickening! Kenya has lost a special gem. Lost for words.”

Kelvin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

02:15 , Jack Rathborn

Kelvin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

02:00 , Jack Rathborn

Former Kenya Prime Minister: “Devastating news as we mourn the loss of a remarkable individual, Kelvin Kiptum, World Record holder and Kenyan athletics icon. Together with his coach, they tragically passed on in an accident tonight.

“My deepest condolences to his loved ones, friends, and the entire athletics fraternity. Our nation grieves the profound loss of a true hero.”

Kelvin Kiptum death - USA sprinter Kenny Bednarek pays tribute to Kenyan

01:45 , Jack Rathborn

Kelvin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

01:30 , Jack Rathborn

Kelvin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

01:15 , Jack Rathborn

A statement from Kenyan Athletics: “Athletics Kenya is deeply saddened to announce the passing on of the World Marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his Rwandese coach Garvais Hakizimana.”

Kelvin Kiptum death - legendary Kenyan runner David Rudisha reacts

01:00 , Jack Rathborn

Rudisha said: “I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana.

“My condolences to the families, friends, athletic fraternity and Kenya at large. This is a huge loss.”

Kevin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

00:50 , Jack Rathborn

A statement from the London Marathon has paid tribute to their 2023 men’s champion.

A statement read: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the terrible news of the death of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.

“The thoughts of everyone at the TCS London Marathon are with Kelvin’s and Gervais’ family and friends.”

Kelvin Kiptum death - latest tributes and reaction

00:40 , Jack Rathborn

Abbott World Marathon Majors, who organise the London Marathon and iconic races over 26.2 miles in Berlin, Boston, New York, Tokyo and Chicago, has paid tribute to Kiptum.

A statement read: “The entire Abbott World Marathon Majors family is devastated by the news that our men’s series champion and world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana have passed away.

“All of our thoughts are with their family and friends at this time.”

Kelvin Kiptum death - updates

00:10 , Jack Rathborn

Kelvin Kiptum was due to next race on 14 April in Rotterdam, which was expected to be the first genuine attempt to break the two-hour barrier in an official race.

Kiptum announced a brand deal with smart watch brand Amazfit earlier this month. Kiptum did not travel to an event for the brand at the announcement in Paris.

Seb Coe pays tribute to ‘incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy’

Sunday 11 February 2024 23:45 , Jack Rathborn

World Athletics president Seb Coe paid tribute to Kiptum: “We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.

“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.”

Kelvin Kiptum, marathon world record holder, dies in road accident

Sunday 11 February 2024 23:43 , Jack Rathborn

Kelvin Kiptum, the men’s marathon world record holder, has died aged 24 in a road accident in Kenya.

Kiptum and his Rwandese coach Garvais Hakizimana died in the collision, confirmed Abbott World Marathon Majors and Elgeyo Marakwet police.

The incident occured in the Kaptagat area on Sunday evening along Elgeyo Marakwet road.

Kiptum won the London Marathon last year and would go on to break compatriot Eliud Kipchoge’s world record at the Chicago Marathon in October in 2:00:35.

Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum dies in road accident