A traffic accident claims the life of Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptom, the world record holder in the marathon

February 13, 2024
A traffic accident claims the life of Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptom, the world record holder in the marathon

A traffic accident killed Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptom and his coach Gerphe Hakizimana. According to what the police said on Sunday, the world record holder was driving towards Eldoret, in western Kenya, and the driver lost control, and two people died instantly. A woman who was riding in the car was taken to the hospital’s emergency department.” Kiptom began his career as a runner in 2016. In 2019, he ran two very fast half marathons within two weeks.

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Elegyo Marakwet District Police in Kenya announced on Sunday the death of the world record holder in… Marathon race Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptom and his coach Gerphe Hakizimana were involved in a car accident in western Kenya.

“The event occurred at eleven o'clock at night (20:00 GMT). Three people were riding in the car. Two died instantly and the third was taken to hospital. The two are Kiptom and his coach,” said Peter Mulenge, police commissioner in Elegio Marakwet District.

He continued: “Kiptom was driving towards Eldoret, and the driver lost control (…), and two people died instantly. A woman who was traveling in the car was taken to the hospital's emergency department.”

Kiptom (24 years old) set his record of 2:00:35 hours in only his third attempt at the Chicago Marathon last October, 34 seconds behind the previous mark of his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge.

The runner, who was unknown two years ago, said: “Breaking a world record is not something I thought about today! I knew I would break this record one day.”

While he revealed that “I have no plans to go under the two-hour mark, but rather to improve my record,” he later warned of the possibility of achieving this symbolic achievement in the Rotterdam Marathon on April 14.

Kiptom was close to the record during his participation in the London Marathon last April, when he recorded 2:01.25 hours. On his way to victory.

Kiptom has never faced his fellow veteran Kipchoge, but he hopes to do so at the Paris Olympics next summer, where the 39-year-old will seek to win gold for the third time in a row.

In October, Rwandan Hakizimana recounted the beginnings of Kiptum, who was training near his hometown of Chipkoryo (west), 40 km from Eldoret, the home of Kenyan athletics high above sea level. “When we did climbing sessions in the forest near his house, he was small, but He would follow us barefoot after tending to the goats and sheep.”

He continued: “It was 2013, and he had not started running races yet.”

Kiptom started his career as a runner in 2016. In 2019, he ran two very fast half marathons in the space of two weeks (60:48 in Copenhagen and 59:53 in Belfort, France), when Gervais suggested training for the marathon.

Kiptom began running more than 250 kilometers a week, which is a high number even for professionals. “He ran, ate and slept,” his coach added.

He ran his first marathon in Valencia in late 2022, recording 2:01:53 hours.

Kiptom's killing is reminiscent of the shocking death of Kenyan marathon runner Samuel Wanjiru of a similar age. The 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medalist was killed in 2011 after falling from a balcony.

Kiptum's emergence came at a time when Kenyan athletics is facing a doping crisis, with 67 Kenyan athletes suspended in the past five years for using banned substances.

British IAAF President Sebastian Coe commented, “We are shocked and deeply saddened by the news of the death of Kelvin and his coach Gervais Hakizimana,” praising “an exceptional runner who left an exceptional legacy.” “We will miss him,” he added.

France 24/AFP

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