The running world was stunned to learn of the death of men’s marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum at age 24 on Sunday.
Kiptum was a rising star in distance running, with his record performance at the Chicago Marathon in October setting the stage for a future that included being the favorite at the Olympics in Paris this summer. Kiptum broke the world record set by Eliud Kipchoge and was the first runner to finish an official marathon in less than 2 hours and 1 minute with his 2:00:35 result in Chicago.
He was scheduled to participate in the Rotterdam Marathon in the Netherlands in April.
Kipchoge, a fellow Kenyan and two-time Olympic gold medalist in the men’s marathon, posted a heartfelt message on X.
“I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of the Marathon World record holder and rising star Kelvin Kiptum,” Kipchoge wrote. “An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness. I offer my deepest condolences to his young family. May God comfort you during this trying time.”
Other prominent figures and organizations within the running world shared their expressions and emotions on social media in the wake of Kiptum’s death. Here is a sampling:
Today, track & field took us on an emotional roller coaster. The highs of World and National records at Millrose, followed by the crushing news of Kelvin Kiptum passing. Our sport lost a good one today, but may his gutsy racing live on in all those who toe the line.— Deena Kastor (@DeenaKastor) February 12, 2024
I’m so sad to hear the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana. Kelvin was an amazingly talented athlete and had already achieved so much. He truly had a special talent and I have no doubt he would have gone on to have had an incredible career. I send all my… pic.twitter.com/bNXJA1FgBL— Sir Mo Farah (@Mo_Farah) February 12, 2024
It is with extreme sadness that I learnt of the tragic passing of world marathon record-holder Kelvin Kiptum from Kenya in a car accident. We had been looking forward to welcoming him into the Olympic community at the Olympic Games Paris 2024 and seeing what the fastest marathon… pic.twitter.com/G84rzZsq0q— IOC MEDIA (@iocmedia) February 12, 2024
We are shocked and deeply saddened to hear the terrible news of the death of marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.— TCS London Marathon (@LondonMarathon) February 11, 2024
The thoughts of everyone at the TCS London Marathon are with Kelvin’s and Gervais’ family and friends. pic.twitter.com/HO8ONdYsJf
We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn of the devastating loss of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana.— Seb Coe (@sebcoe) February 11, 2024
On behalf of all World Athletics we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation.
It was only earlier this week in… pic.twitter.com/dDBKgjXNKL
Matt Pepin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.