Kelvin Kiptum, the rising marathon star from Kenya, tragically passed away at the age of 24 in a car accident on February 11th, 2024. His death sent shockwaves through the world of athletics, cutting short a promising career that had already achieved remarkable feats.


Born and raised in the Rift Valley, the heartland of Kenyan distance running, Kiptum began following elite athletes in his teenage years. His talent quickly shone through, with a stunning debut marathon in Valencia in 2022 solidifying his potential. Then, in his third marathon ever, he stunned the world by shattering the marathon world record in Chicago, becoming the first to crack the two-hour and one-minute mark.


Kiptum’s dedication was legendary. He trained obsessively, often exceeding 300 kilometres a week under the guidance of his coach, Gervais Hakizimana (who also tragically died in the accident). His coach described him as a “run, eat, sleep” kind of athlete, completely dedicated to his craft.


This dedication propelled him to the top, but also raised concerns about sustainability. At 23, he already dreamt of breaking the mythic two-hour barrier. Many saw him as the heir apparent to legendary marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge, with whom he was expected to battle for gold at the Paris Olympics.


His sudden passing has left a void in the running world. President Ruto called him an “extraordinary sportsman” who left a mark on the world. World champions Faith Kipyegon and Eliud Kipchoge expressed their deep sadness, acknowledging his talent and unfulfilled potential.


The Kenyan government has announced that it will oversee arrangements for the athlete’s funeral, which is due to be held on Friday, 23rd February 2024. They have also pledged to build Kiptum’s family the house he had promised he would build them. 


His life was brief, but his legacy lasted.


By: Yahuza Bawage

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