Kenya’s cabinet secretary Musalia Mudavadi expressed deep sadness over the passing of Kelvin Kiptum. He described Kiptum’s remarkable talent and dedication to athletics as an inspiration to many, highlighting his mentorship and leadership that guided aspiring athletes to reach their full potential. Mudavadi described the legacy Kiptum leaves behind as a testament to passion and commitment to excellence.
In 2021, Kiptum made a significant impact in long distance running by breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s world record at the Chicago Marathon and dominating the London Marathon with the third fastest time over the 26.2 mile distance. Kiptum was considered a once-in-a-generation talent and was the favorite for Olympic gold in Paris, where Kipchoge was going for a hat-trick of marathon titles. His historic time of 2hr 0m 35sec was set in October, and he was in the final weeks of training for the Rotterdam Marathon in April, as well as being selected for the Kenyan team for the Olympic marathon in August.
Kipchoge was the first human to run a marathon under two hours in a controlled time trial event with pacers, but Kiptum looked increasingly likely to achieve that feat in ratified race conditions. In recognition of his exceptional performance, World Athletics awarded him “off track” athlete of the year title in December. Despite starting serious running barefoot while herding cattle for his family, he had never previously set foot on an athletics track.