The World marathon record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, who broke a record of two hour and 35 second in Chicago, is dead.
The Kenyan athlete, 24, was involved in a traffic accident along with his coach, Garvais Hakizaman. The athlete was driving a Toyota premio when he lost control.
According to the Elgeyo Marakwet County Police Commander Peter Mulinge, the two died in a road accident Sunday night outside the Rift Valley town of Eldoret, Kenya. One other occupant sustained injuries and was taken to the hospital.
"He lost control, veered off the road, entered into a ditch 60 meters away and hit a big tree,” Mulinge said. The accident happened around 11 p.m. local time.
Kiptum’s world record marathon time of 2:00:35 set in the Chicago Marathon in October last year was ratified just days ago by World Athletics. He had only switched to running the marathon from shorter distance races a year before setting that record pace.
He had also been named in Kenya’s team for the Olympic Games in Paris next year, and was set to team up with his world record predecessor Eliud Kipchoge.
Kiptum was preparing to compete at this year’s Rotterdam Marathon, scheduled for April, which he hoped to use as a preparatory platform for the Olympics later in the year
Hakizimana, 36 was a former professional athlete from Rwanda who participated in different races from the 5,000 meter to the half marathon.
Figures across the world of athletics and long distance running offered tributes and lamented the loss of such an athlete at his prime.
Condolences to their families and may their souls rest in peace.