Kenya has lost a rising star in the world of marathon running after Kelvin Kiptum, the current marathon world record holder, died in a car crash late Sunday. His coach also passed away in the same accident.
Milcah Chemos, a Kenyan runner who knew Kiptum well, shared the news on social media and went to the hospital in Eldoret with a group of athletes to identify his body. Kiptum’s family members also arrived at the hospital to say their final goodbyes.
Kiptum was only 24 years old when he set a new world record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October 2019, beating his own previous record of 2:01.39 set at the Berlin Marathon in September 2019. World Athletics President Sebastian Coe expressed deep sadness over Kiptum’s passing, calling him an incredible athlete who had left an incredible legacy behind.
Nick Gornick, a Villa Park physical therapist and running coach who had seen Kiptum cross the halfway point of the Chicago Marathon last year, said that setting a world record at such a young age usually means that there is more to give as an athlete. He mourned the potential of Kiptum’s future in the running world and how much he would have accomplished if he had not been taken away so soon.