NAIROBI, Feb 12 — World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died in a car crash in western Kenya that left a third passenger injured, police said today.

The 24-year-old was driving from Kaptaget to Eldoret in western Kenya around 11pm (2000 GMT) yesterday when the car rolled.

“The accident happened around 11pm (2000 GMT). The car had three occupants, two died on the spot, while one was taken to hospital. The two are Kiptum and his coach,” said Peter Mulinge, police commander for Elgeyo Marakwet County in western Kenya.

“It is Kiptum who was driving heading to Eldoret and the vehicle lost control and rolled, killing the two on the spot. A female passenger sustained injuries and has been rushed to hospital,” he told reporters.

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World Athletics President Sebastian Coe said he was “shocked and saddened to learn of the devastating loss”.

“On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, teammates and the Kenyan nation,” Coe said in a statement.

“An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly.”

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Kiptum ran a world record 2:00:35 in the Chicago Marathon in October, taking 34 seconds off fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge’s previous record.

Kiptum’s run marked the third time a men’s world record had been set on the streets of Chicago but the first time since Morocco’s Khalid Khannouchi in 1999.

At the time, Kiptum was only 23 years old and competing in his third marathon.

World Athletics said Kiptum had not raced since then, but he had been due to compete at the Rotterdam Marathon in April where he was hoping to become the first man to break two hours for the marathon on a record-eligible course.

Kiptum won in his debut in 2022 at Valencia and then in the London Marathon in April last year.

Hakizimana, who is from Rwanda, was a runner who trained for years in Kenya, where he met Kiptum in the youth’s village of Chepkorio.

Ten years ago, barely a teen, Kiptum herded goats and sheep then began following Hakizimana and other runners as they trained.

By 2019, Kiptum ran two half-marathons in two weeks, going 60:48 in Copenhagen and 59:53 in Belfort, France, and began training with Hakizimana, who stayed in Kenya when the Covid-19 pandemic struck. — AFP