The 24-year-old holder of the Marathon world record is dead

His 36-year-old coach Kelvin Kiptum also died in the accident

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A tragedy for world sport occurred in the early hours of the morning in Kenya. Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gerves Hakizimana have died in a car crash outside his home town of Eldoret in the Rift Valley, Kenyan police have confirmed.

The 24-year-old athlete, who was driving a Toyota Premio, and his coach died instantly at the scene of the accident, the local police chief told CNN. A woman who was also in the vehicle survived with serious injuries.

"He lost control, went off the road, went into a ditch 60 meters away and hit a big tree," the police chief also said of how the accident involving the Kenyan champion happened at 11pm local time.

Kiptoum's marathon world record of 2:00:35 that he set at the Chicago Marathon last October was just days ago validated by the World Federation. In fact, Kiptum only started running a marathon a year before setting his world record.

He bettered his personal time by 50 seconds to break the record of 2:01:09 held by compatriot Eliud Kipchogi, who is widely regarded as the greatest marathoner of all time. Kiptum was seen as Kipchogi's successor and many believed he would be the one to finish a sub-2 hour marathon.

As for Kiptoum's coach, the 36-year-old Hakizimana was a former professional athlete from Rwanda who competed in events ranging from the 5.000 meters to the half marathon.

Kenyan Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba said on social media platform X, formerly Twitter: “Extremely creepy!! Kenya has lost a special gem.”

The Kenyan broke the men's marathon record in Chicago on October 8, 2023, with a time of two hours and 35 seconds.

Kelvin Kiptum knocked 34 seconds off the previous world record held by two-time Olympian Eliud Kipchoge of Berlin last year to become the first man to run the marathon under two hours and one minute.

The announcement of the World Athletics Federation:

“World Athletics is deeply saddened to hear that Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum died in a car accident on Sunday (11/2) aged 24.

Kiptum coach Gervais Hakizimana, who was in the car with the Kenyan distance runner, also died in the accident along the Eldoret-Kaptagat road.

On behalf of all of World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the nation of Kenya."

World Athletics validated his world record just last week.