The sports world is mourning marathon star Kelvin Kiptum. The Kenyan world record holder died late Sunday afternoon at the age of 24 in a car accident in his home country, the national athletics federation confirmed.

Kenyan media had previously reported, citing family members and police just as the AP news agency reported the death. World Athletics Federation president Sebastian Coe said he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the news. Kiptum was the first person to run a marathon in under 2:01 hours.

Kiptum, world record holder in athletics, dies in a car accident

According to police, Kiptum was behind the wheel of the car that went off the road at around 11pm local time in Kaptaget in the southwestern highlands of Kenya, a region where many Kenyan long-distance runners train. Also traveling in the vehicle were Kiptum's coach, Garvais Hakizimana, from Rwanda, and a companion. Hakizimana also died in the accident and the woman was seriously injured, according to police. There were no other vehicles involved.

According to initial investigations, Kiptum lost control of the vehicle, left the road and crashed into a tree before ending up in a ditch 60 meters away, the Daily Nation newspaper quoted police chief Peter Mulinge as saying.

“An incredible athlete leaves an incredible legacy”

“An incredible athlete leaves an incredible legacy, he will be greatly missed,” said the British Coe in a statement from the world association. Kenya's Sports Minister Ababu Namwamba wrote in

Kiptum won the Chicago Marathon four months ago with a world record time of 2:00:35 hours. She improved Eliud Kipchoge's previous record by 34 seconds. Kiptum had barely completed her third marathon. According to the world association, she started running at 13 years old.

In Valencia in December 2022, Kiptum ran an unofficial debut world record of 2:01:53 hours, then sensationally won the London Marathon in 2:01:25 hours. The miracle runner immediately announced that he wanted to challenge the world record. He achieved it on October 8 in Chicago. In April he wanted to complete his first marathon since he broke the record in Rotterdam.