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Athletics world mourns death of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum

Eliud Kipchoge, Faith Kipyegon and others paid tribute to Kiptum and his coach, who tragically died in a car crash on Sunday in Kenya

Kelvin Kiptum Photo by: Kevin Morris

On Sunday, the sporting world lost one of its biggest rising stars, at only 24. Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum died in a car crash on Sunday in Kaptagat, Kenya, alongside his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.

The news shocked the athletics world and left many grieving. Kiptum will be remembered for his world-record-setting performance of 2:00:35 at the 2023 Chicago Marathon and his pursuit of becoming the first athlete to break the two-hour marathon mark, which he hoped to do at the 2024 Rotterdam Marathon in April. 

The following are reactions to Kiptum’s death:

World Athletics president Sebastian Coe

“We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation. It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon world record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy–we will miss him dearly.”

Four-time Olympic champion Mo Farah

“I’m so sad to hear the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. Kelvin was an amazingly talented athlete and had already achieved so much. He truly had a special talent and I have no doubt he would have gone on to have had an incredible career. I send all my sympathies and condolences to his and Gervais’ family and friends at this tragic time.”

Former marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of the Marathon World record holder and rising star Kelvin Kiptum. An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness. I offer my deepest condolences to his young family. May God comfort you during this trying time.”

World 5,000m and 10,000m record holder Joshua Cheptegei

“I am so heartbroken and shocked to learn of the saddening news of the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana. My condolences to both families, friends and all the athletics fans around the globe.”

Nike Running

“We are heartbroken by the tragic passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. Kelvin was one of those special athletes who showed the world what we can achieve. He was not only a beloved member of the Nike family, but an inspiration to all. Kelvin’s impact on running will never be forgotten. We extend our deepest condolences to the families and loved ones of Kelvin and Gervais.”

Rotterdam Marathon

“We are deeply shocked and saddened by the news of the death of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. Apart from being an athlete, we got to know Kelvin as an extraordinary and humble human being. Our thoughts are with his family and we wish them strength during this difficult time. R.I.P. Kelvin.”

Kiptum’s agent Marc Corstjens

“With deep regrets, the sad news reached us late evening Feb. 11, Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a terrible car accident, on their way back to training camp. Our Golazo family is in shock by this sudden loss. Our thoughts are with their families.”

Chicago Marathon race director Carey Pinkowski

“We are shocked and saddened by the news of the recent death of Kelvin Kiptum. Kelvin was a once-in-a-generation athlete at the front of his career and there is no doubt in my mind that his greatest achievements were ahead of him. We were lucky to witness his greatness on the streets of Chicago. While he will be celebrated for his record-breaking performances, I will remember him as an incredible talent and as an even more magnificent person. The sport of marathon running has suffered a tragic loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

Olympic and world 1,500m champion Faith Kipyegon

“Condolences to the family and friends of Kelvin Kiptum. You will be missed by all in the athletics community. Rest in Peace.”

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