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World Record Marathon Runner Kelvin Kiptum Was Destined for Greatness

A Promising Running Star Dies Too Soon

Marathon Runner was Destined for Greatness

Running Community Reeling from Kelvin Kiptum’s Passing

On February 11, 2024, at the young age of 24, World Record Marathon Runner Kelvin Kiptum’s life was cut short when he and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, died in a tragic car accident outside the famed Kenyan training town in the Rift Valley, Eldoret.

Officials report that the father of two lost control of his car and veered off the road, though Kiptum’s father and some authorities remain suspicious

Kiptum leaves a legacy of remarkable achievements and an inspiring story of dedication and passion.

Kelvin Kiptum’s Background Led to Excellence

Born in Keiyo South, Kenya, Kelvin’s journey began amidst a humble background. He grew up in Chepsamo village, Chepkorio, a high-altitude area in Kenya’s Rift Valley.

About 30 km east of Eldoret, this and nearby regions of Kenya are where many famed runners have been born. Today, it is still the training ground of champions and a hallowed ground for many foreign runners.

Kiptum’s talent for running was evident in his background early on, and his unwavering commitment to training propelled him to the top of the marathon world. 

He herded cattle as a youth, following other barefoot runners along area trails.

When he was 13 years old, Kiptum started training (around 2013). He entered his first half-marathon at this age, finishing 10th in the Family Bank Eldoret Half Marathon in his native Kenya.

Self-coached, he returned to win this race in 2018 with a time of 62:01. He bettered this time in the Lisbon Half Marathon in 2019 with a 59:54. Since about 2020, he had begun preparing for his marathon career.

In an interview with Olympics.com, Kiptum mentioned this in his background, saying, “This is where I grew up, and there were always athletes running around my home. So when I started training, it was with the marathoners and road racers, and I just found myself running road races so young.”

Kiptum Achieved Greatness, Inspired Many

Kiptum’s record-breaking marathon performance stunned the world with his incredible finish at the 2023 Chicago Marathon in October, setting a new world record of 2 hours and 35 seconds.

He had a record of consistent excellence – his talent wasn’t limited to one race. He delivered consistently, winning races starting as a teenager in 2018, with later notable achievements like winning a rainy London Marathon (2023) and having the fastest marathon debut in history at the Valencia Marathon (2022).

A high-mileage dedicated runner, he wasn’t afraid of intensity, and his coach Hakizimana reported that training Kiptum was an “adventure,” partly because Kiptum preferred to run 155-186 miles per week.

Kiptum had been training for the Rotterdam Marathon on April 14. He planned to run the first sub-two hour marathon on a sanctioned course. The 2024 Olympics were also on his radar.

He seemed unbeatable, and many awaited his challenge to Eluid Kipchoge, who many consider the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) of marathon running.

With more than just race times, Kelvin’s positive attitude and infectious enthusiasm resonated with runners worldwide, becoming a symbol of resilience, dedication, and a pure love for the sport.

Kiptum isn’t the only high-profile marathon runner to die before his entire legacy ran its course. After racing to the Olympic marathon record at the 2008 Beijing Games, Samuel Wanjiru died after falling from a balcony at his home in Nyahururu.

Track legend Steve Roland “Pre” Prefontaine was also killed in an automobile crash near his residence in Eugene, OR, at the age of 24 in 1975.

How Can You Remember His Legacy?

While his passing leaves a void, Kelvin’s impact on the sport and the lives he touched will never be forgotten.

In an interview with CNN, Carey Pinkowski, Executive Race Director of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, said, “While he will be celebrated for his record-breaking performances, I will remember him as an incredible talent and as an even more magnificent person.”

Embrace his dedication, sportsmanship, and passion for running. Continue training with determination and positivity, and inspire others to do the same.

We can also remember to live each day to the fullest in gratitude for our abilities and talents.

Kelvin Kiptum’s star may have dimmed too soon, but its brilliance continues to shine in the hearts of runners everywhere. Let’s cherish his memory, draw strength from his story, and keep his spirit alive on the marathon course and beyond.

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