Marathon World Record Holder Kelvin Kiptum Dies In Car Crash At 24 Years Old

By Chris Chavez

February 11, 2024

Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum has died at 24 years old in a car crash in Kenya.

Here’s what you need to know:

– Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, were reportedly involved in a highway accident near Kaptagat. At around 11 p.m.,Kiptum was reportedly driving when the silver Toyota Premio went off the road, into a ditch and then hit a tree. His body was taken to Racecourse Mortuary in Eldoret, where it was identified by fellow athletes and family members, according to the Associated Press. Kiptum lived and trained in the area.

– A third passenger in the car, Sharon Chepkirui Kosgei, was traveling with them and was taken to the hospital with injuries.


– Kiptum broke the marathon world record in 2:00:34 at last year’s Chicago Marathon. The previous world record was 2:01:09 set by Eliud Kipchoge in 2022. Kiptum’s world record was ratified by World Athletics last week.

– He was set to run this year’s Rotterdam Marathon in April in an attempt to break the two-hour barrier in a record-eligible race. Kipchoge is the only man in history to run under two hours after running 1:59:40 in an optimized time trial in Vienna in 2019, which is not eligible for a world record due to its rotating cast of pacers used.

– “I knew I was coming for a course record, but a world record – I am so happy,” he said after the race. “A world record was not on my mind today, but I knew one day I would be a world record-holder.”

– Kiptum burst onto the scene with the fastest debut marathon in history with a 2:01:53 at the Valencia Marathon in 2022. He won his first major marathon last April at the 2023 London Marathon in 2:01:25.

– Kiptum earned World Athletics Athlete of The Year honors for the best male road performer of the year.

– Kiptum was on Athletics Kenya’s short list of athletes for the Olympic marathon team in Paris, where he would likely face off against former world record holder and double Olympic champion Eliud Kipchoge for the first time.

– Kiptum is survived by his wife, Asenath Rotich, and their two children.

What World Athletics President Seb Coe said:

– Coe issued the following statement on X: “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.”

What Eliud Kipchoge said:

“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.”

What Kenyan President William Ruto said:

“Kelvin Kiptum was a star. Arguably one of the world’s finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record. He was only 24 yet, as a hero, triumphed in Valencia, Chicago, London and in other top competitions. His mental strength and discipline were unmatched. Kiptum was our future. An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark in the globe. Our thoughts are with the family and the sporting fraternity. Rest In Peace.”

Kiptum's main sponsor, Nike, issued the following statement: "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."

Other tributes from the track and field community:

5000m and 10,000m world 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. Road accident has robbed us of such a great talent. Rest in power mate.”

800m world record holder David Rudisha: “I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana. My condolences to the families, friends, athletic fraternity and Kenya at large. This is a huge loss.”

2012 and 2016 5000m and 10,000m 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.”

1500m Olympic champion and world record holder Faith Kipyegon: "Condolences to the family and friends of Kelvin Kiptum. You will be missed by all in the athletics community. Rest in Peace."

2023 Chicago Marathon champion Sifan Hassan: "I'm deeply saddened and heartbroken by the news Kelvin Kiptum and his coach died yesterday. My condolences go out to his family, friends and fans."

Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.