Nearly four months after setting the world record for the fastest marathon ever recorded, Kelvin Kiptum died at the age of 24 in a car crash, the National Olympic Committee of Kenya announced late Sunday.
Kiptum, whose record was officially confirmed last week by World Athletics, ran the first sub-two-hour, one-minute marathon in an official race at the 2023 Chicago Marathon. He came just 35 seconds away from breaking the two-hour barrier.
His performance in Chicago, and given his young age, had many in competitive running believing he would eventually become the first person ever to run a sub-two-hour marathon in an official race.
Kiptum died in a car accident in his home country of Kenya between the towns of Kaptagat and Eldoret, according to the Elgeyo Marakwet County Police. Officials said Kiptum's coach, Gervais Hakizimana, also died on the spot.
Officials said Kiptum lost control of a vehicle and veered off-road into a ditch on his left side.
"We mourn the untimely departure of a promising talent," the National Olympic Committee of Kenya said in a press release. "Kelvin’s recent ratified record in Chicago showcased his potential for a bright future, representing the next generation of Olympic greatness."
Kiptum became the world record holder after topping two-time Olympic gold medalist Eliud Kipchoge's record from the 2022 Berlin Marathon. The two Kenyans were expected to compete for Olympic Gold in Paris this summer, in what was supposed to be a highly anticipated showdown between the veteran Kipchoge and up-and-coming Kiptum.
"I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of the marathon world record holder and rising start Kelvin Kiptum," Kipchoge said. "An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness."
In addition to winning last year's Chicago Marathon, Kiptum was the winner of the 2023 London Marathon. His time of two hours, one minute and 35 seconds set the course record for the London Marathon.
Trending stories at Scrippsnews.com