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Marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, set to compete in Paris Olympics, dies in car crash

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Marathon world record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, who was set to be a superstar of long-distance running and was a top contender for gold at the Olympics in Paris this year, was killed along with his coach in a car crash in Kenya.

Their vehicle was the only one involved in the crash late Sunday and Kiptum was driving when it veered off a road and into a ditch before hitting a tree, police said.

Kenya's Kiptum was 24 and one of the most exciting prospects to emerge in road running in years, having broken the world record in only his third appearance in an elite marathon. His record, set at last year's Chicago Marathon, was ratified by international track federation World Athletics just last week.


His death reverberated through Kenya, where runners are the biggest sports stars. Kenyans have also gotten used to tragic tales involving their top athletes after a number have died in road crashes, other accidents and domestic violence cases.

Kelvin Kiptum of Kenya celebrates his Chicago Marathon world record victory in Chicago's Grant Park on Oct. 8, 2023. Kiptum died in a car crash in Kenya on Feb. 11, 2024. He was 24. (Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

"He was only 24," Kenyan President William Ruto said in a statement offering his condolences. "Kiptum was our future."

Kiptum and his Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana, were killed in the crash at around 11 p.m., police said. It happened near the town of Kaptagat in western Kenya, in the heart of the high-altitude region that's renowned as a training base for the best distance runners