Kenya has lost one of its most promising young athletes, marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, in a tragic car crash on Sunday. His coach also died in the accident, according to Kenyan runner Milcah Chemos. The crash occurred between Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, a region known for being a training base for long-distance runners.
After hearing the news of the crash, Chemos and a group of athletes went to the hospital in Eldoret. Kiptum’s family members also went to the hospital to identify his body. Kiptum, who was just 24 years old, was the first man to run the marathon in under 2 hours, 1 minute. He set a new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October.
His record was ratified by international track federation World Athletics last week, and he was described as one of the most exciting new prospects in the running world. World Athletics President Sebastian Coe expressed deep sadness at the loss, calling Kiptum an incredible athlete who has left an incredible legacy.
Nick Gornick, a Villa Park physical therapist and running coach, had seen Kiptum cross the halfway point of the Chicago Marathon last year and thought that he had “a real shot” at finishing the marathon in less than two hours in 2024. Gornick expressed his sadness, saying that setting a world record at a young age usually means an athlete has more to give. He mentioned that the running community will miss seeing the potential of Kiptum unfold.