Marathon World-Record Holder Kelvin Kiptum Dead at 24 After Car Crash

Kelvin Kiptum, the marathon record holder, and his coach Gervais Hakizimana in a single-vehicle crash in Kenya Feb. 11.

By Olivia Evans Feb 12, 2024 7:15 PMTags
Watch: Marathon World Record Holder Kelvin Kiptum Dead at 24

The running world is mourning the loss of a legend. 

Kelvin Kiptum, the marathon world-record holder, died in a car crash along with his coach Gervais Hakizimana Feb. 11 in his native Kenya. He was 24. 

"We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss," World Athletics president Sebastian Coe wrote in a Feb. 11 statement on X, formerly Twitter. "On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation."

The single-car crash that killed the long-distance runner and his coach, who was 36, occurred at around 11 p.m. local time between the towns of Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya, according to NBC News. The car, which contained Kiptum, Hakizimana and an unidentified woman, reportedly veered off the road into a ditch and hit a tree. The third passenger in the vehicle was taken to the hospital with serious injuries. 

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Just months before his death, Kiptum had set a world record at the Chicago Marathon in October with a time of 2:00.35, according to NBC News. As the first man to ever run a marathon in under two hours and one minute—besting the great Eliud Kipchoge—the title had been ratified by World Athletics only a week before the crash.

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Kiptum burst onto the running scene in 2022, and became the fastest debutant in the Valencia Marathon. In addition to his record-breaking success in the Chicago Marathon, the 24-year-old also won the London Marathon last April. At the time of his death, he held three of the seven fastest marathon times ever recorded. 

As Coe put it, Kiptum was, "An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy," the World Athletics president continued in his X statement. "We will miss him dearly." 

(NBC News and E! News are a part of the NBCUniversal family.)