Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum dies aged 24 in car accident

By Sanj Atwal
Kelvin Kiptum celebrating at end of London Marathon

Guinness World Records are saddened to learn of the death of Kenya’s Kelvin Kiptum, holder of the fastest marathon world record.

The 24-year-old lost his life in a car accident on a road in western Kenya on Sunday. His coach, Gervais Hakizimana, also died.

Kiptum took the marathon-running world by storm over the past two years, setting several world records.

In December 2022, he set a record for the fastest debut marathon run after registering a time of 2 hr 1 min 53 sec at the Valencia Marathon.

He went on to achieve the fastest time to run the London Marathon in April 2023, clocking in at 2 hr 1 min 25 sec, over a minute faster than the previous record set by legendary runner and fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge.

Kelvin Kiptum celebrating after winning the London Marathon 2023

Kiptum then broke Kipchoge’s most iconic record in October at the Chicago Marathon, where he ran the fastest marathon ever in a time of 2 hr 35 sec, shaving 34 seconds off his compatriot’s time.

Kiptum, who ran three of the seven fastest marathon times ever, was planning to compete in the Rotterdam Marathon in April this year, where he was hoping to become the first person to break the two-hour barrier in an official race.

He was also preparing to make his Olympic debut in Paris in the summer.

According to the police report, Kiptum’s fatal crash occurred at 11 p.m. local time (8 p.m. GMT). He was driving his coach and a woman in a car near the Rift Valley village where he was born.

After losing control of the vehicle, veering off the road and crashing into a large tree, Kiptum and Hakizimana died at the scene. The woman, 24-year-old Sharon Chepkurui Kosgei Keiyo, survived with serious injuries and is being treated at a local hospital.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said in a statement: “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. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”

Eliud Kipchoge also paid tribute to his compatriot in a post on social media: “I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of the marathon world record holder and rising star Kelvin Kiptum.

“An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness. May I offer my deepest condolences to his young family.”