Kelvin Kiptum, who shattered the world record in the men’s marathon last year, finishing tantalizingly close to the mythical and once unfathomable two-hour barrier, died on Sunday in Kaptagat in western Kenya. He was 24.
His death, in a car accident, was announced by Athletics Kenya, the governing body for track and field in that country. Kiptum’s coach, Gervais Hakizimana, was also killed in the crash.
Kiptum, who was driving, veered off the road into a ditch and then hit a large tree, the authorities said. He and Hakizimana were killed instantly. A third person in the car, Sharon Kosgei, was injured.
After some good performances in half marathons, Kiptum broke through in his first marathon in Valencia, Spain, in 2022, with a winning time of 2:01:53. At the London Marathon in 2023, he crushed the field to win in 2:01:25, the second-fastest time in history, 16 seconds short of the world record of 2:01:09 held by Eliud Kipchoge of Kenya.
Kiptum didn’t fall short on his next try. In October in Chicago, on a flat course known for producing fast times, Kiptum obliterated the record, recording a time of 2:00:35. It was only his third marathon.
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