Kelvin Kiptum, the current marathon world record holder, and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, were confirmed to have died in a grisly road accident at 11 pm Sunday 12th February 2024 at Kaptagat along Elgeyo Marakwet-Eldama Ravine road. Elgeyo Marakwet Police Commander Peter Mulinge relayed the incident in a report.
Born on December 2, 1999, in Keiyo District, Kelvin Kiptum, despite his young age of 24, has accomplished remarkable feats within his brief yet impactful life. His remarkable journey towards setting the long-distance world record commenced in 2012. He was merely 12 years old when he participated in his inaugural half marathon hosted by Family Bank Eldoret.
In 2018, Kiptum clinched his first victory in a race, achieving a notable time of 62:01. This early success marked the beginning of his ascent in the world of long-distance running. Despite lacking formal training in his early years, he relentlessly pursued his passion for running, honing his skills through trial and error.
Stepping onto the global stage, Kiptum made his debut at the Lisbon Half Marathon in Portugal in March 2019. Despite stiff competition, he secured a commendable 5th position, showcasing an improved time record of 59:54. This achievement signaled Kiptum’s growing prowess and hinted at the extraordinary lengths he would go on to achieve in athletics.
During this period, Kelvin Kiptum actively participated in numerous races, showcasing his endurance and skill on various challenging courses. Notably, in November 2019, he triumphed in the grueling Kass Half Marathon, a testament to his determination and ability to conquer tough terrains.
His Relationship With Coach Gervais Hakizimana
In 2020, Kelvin Kiptum initiated a professional partnership with his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, a distinguished Rwandan Steeplechase Record holder. Their collaboration marked a significant milestone in Kiptum’s career, symbolizing a transition into a more structured and focused training regimen.
Interestingly, their working relationship had its roots as far back as 2013, characterized by periodic training sessions where Hakizimana provided guidance and support to Kiptum. However, it wasn’t until 2020 that they formalized their collaboration by signing a coaching deal, solidifying their commitment to achieving Kiptum’s athletic aspirations together.
World Marathon Record Performance
In December 2022, Kiptum, the then 23-year-old, secured a remarkable victory at the Valencia Marathon, achieving a time of 2:01:53 and thereby setting the fourth-fastest record in the history of the race. His performance positioned him as only the third man in history to break the two-hour and two-minute barrier. It was his debut appearance in the Valencia Marathon, underscoring his ability to excel even in unfamiliar race environments.
His winning streak did not stop there. Kiptum proceeded to triumph at the London Marathon, marking his debut in a World Marathon Major event. Despite facing rainy conditions, Kiptum showcased his exceptional talent and determination. His impressive performance secured his victory and established a new personal best time record of 2:01:25.
Remarkably, Kiptum’s time of 2:01:25 was only 16 seconds outside the established world record, establishing him as a formidable contender in the world of marathon running. His new record outpaced his compatriot Geoffrey Kamworor, who hails from the same village and exceeded Eliud Kipchoge’s course record of 2:02:37 by over a minute. Thus, the London Marathon victory further solidified his reputation as one of the sport’s rising stars, earning him widespread recognition and admiration from fans and peers alike.
In another impressive feat, Kiptum clinched his second World Marathon Major title in Chicago on October 8, 2023, with a time of 2:35:00. This new record shaved off 34 seconds from Kipchoge’s previous standard set at the 2022 Berlin Marathon, while also smashing the course record by over three minutes. The World Athletics ratified the Chicago Marathon world record time record just two days ago.
Kiptum’s Untimely Demise
According to the police report, Kelvin Kiptum, accompanied by his coach and a 24-year-old woman, Sharon Chepkurui Kosgei, was driving his Toyota Premio when the accident occurred. The vehicle veered off the road into a ditch after Kiptum lost control, traveling a distance of 60 meters before colliding with a large tree. Tragically, both Kiptum and his coach succumbed to the injuries sustained in the accident, while the woman was admitted in critical condition.
The world, along with top athletes and sports enthusiasts, mourns the loss of this talented young man, who served as a beacon of hope and inspiration to many. His achievements and unwavering determination provided encouragement and motivation to countless individuals, leaving a lasting impact on the athletic community and beyond.