In a tragic turn of events, Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptum, the marathon world record-holder, died in a car crash along with his coach in Kenya on Sunday. The crash occurred on a road in the high-altitude region that is known as a training base for long-distance runners.
Kiptum, 24, was the first man to run the marathon in under 2 hours, 1 minute, setting the new world record of 2:00:35 at the Chicago Marathon in October. His record was officially ratified by international track federation World Athletics last week. World Athletics President Sebastian Coe expressed deep sorrow and shock in a statement upon hearing of Kiptum and his coach’s tragic deaths.
Chicago physical therapist and running coach Nick Gornick, who witnessed Kiptum’s record-breaking finish at the Chicago Marathon, believed that Kiptum had the potential to finish a marathon in under two hours. He lamented Kiptum’s untimely death, noting that setting a world record at such a young age usually means that an athlete has much more to offer.
A group of athletes, including fellow Kenyan Milcah Chemos, went to the hospital in Eldoret to confirm the deaths of their colleague and his coach. The news of Kiptum’s death has left the running community devastated and mourning his loss.