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Kelvin Kiptum (on October 10, 2023)

Photo: Tony Karumba / AFP

The sports world is mourning the loss of a rising star. Kelvin Kiptum, the world record holder for the marathon distance, died in an accident in Kenya. The local police confirmed this to the French news agency AFP. The long-distance runner was only 24 years old. His trainer was also killed in the accident.

»The accident occurred around 11 p.m. There were three passengers in the car, two died on the spot. “The two are Kiptum and his trainer,” said Peter Mulinge, police commander in Elgeyo Marakwet in western Kenya. The third occupant was taken to the hospital.

The incident occurred on a road between the cities of Eldoret and Kaptagat in the west of the African country. Kenya's Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba wrote on X (formerly Twitter): »Horrible!! Kenya has lost a jewel. There are no words."

In October 2023, Kiptum significantly beat the marathon world record in Chicago and dethroned his compatriot Eliud Kipchoge. The 23-year-old ran in the US metropolis in 2:00:35 hours, 34 seconds faster than top star Kipchoge in Berlin the year before.

Duel at the Olympics was imminent

For Kiptum, the result was the result of a steep climb: it was only on December 4, 2022 that the new world record holder made his debut at the Valencia Marathon and won his first race there. Kiptum also won the London Marathon on April 23, 2023 with a course record.

At the Summer Olympics in Paris this year, Kiptum, who did not compete for Kenya at any major international championships, was supposed to meet against his compatriot Kipchoge.

Kiptum was also considered a promising candidate to be the first person to break the magical two-hour mark under regular conditions.