Marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a car accident in western Kenya that also left a third passenger injured, police said Sunday.
“The accident occurred around 11:00 p.m. local time,” the police said.
Kiptum, who set the world best (2 hours and 35 seconds) at the Chicago Marathon last October, was 24 years old. He was in the preparation phase for the Paris Olympic Games.
The same police sources indicated that the long-distance runner was heading to Eldoret, a city in western Kenya.
Kiptum’s premature death is reminiscent of that of another great Kenyan marathon runner, Samuel Wanjiru, who also lost his life at the age of 24.
Wanjiru, Olympic champion in 2008 in Beijing, met his death in 2011 after falling from a balcony.
The previous world record for the maximum distance was held by Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge, 34 seconds more than Kiptum.