On February 11, the world was shocked by the tragic death of marathon runner Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana in a car accident in Kenya. Kiptum was only 24 years old and had set a remarkable world record in the marathon in October in Chicago, running it in 2:00:35. His achievement was an incredible feat that beat the previous record held by Eliud Kipchoge.
Kiptum’s career as a marathon runner had been on an upward trajectory leading up to his world record achievement. He had won his first marathon in Valencia, Spain in 2022 and later triumphed in the 2022 London Marathon. He had plans to attempt to break the 2-hour barrier at the Rotterdam Marathon in April 2024.
Sarah Lorge Butler is a writer and editor based in Eugene, Oregon whose work on running, its trends, and unique individuals has been featured in Runner’s World since 2005. She is also the author of two well-received fitness books, Run Your Butt Off! and Walk Your Butt Off!
World Athletics ratified Kiptum’s record on February 6 after Sebastian Coe, the president of World Athletics expressed his condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation after their tragic loss. Coe highlighted the shocking and deeply saddened impact it has had on everyone involved with athletics worldwide.