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Running world mourns world-record marathoner Kelvin Kiptum

Kenya's Kelvin Kiptum won the 2023 London Marathon with a time of 2:01:25. Photo by Tolga Akmen/EPA-EFE
Kenya's Kelvin Kiptum won the 2023 London Marathon with a time of 2:01:25. Photo by Tolga Akmen/EPA-EFE

Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Fellow Kenyans Eliud Kipchoge and David Rudisha and packs of the world's most elite distance runners continue to pay tribute to Kelvin Kiptum, the marathon world record holder who died in a weekend car crash. He was 24.

Athletics Kenya announced Kiptum's death Sunday night. Kenya's governing body for the sport of athletics -- including track and field, road races and cross country events -- said Kiptum and his Rwandese coach, Garvais Hakizimana died in a car accident in Kaptagat, Kenya.

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"Our condolences goes out to their families and the entire athletics community during this difficult time," Athletics Kenya wrote on social media.

Kiptum, who made his international running debut in 2019, clocked a 2-hour, 1-minute, 53-second finish to win his marathon debut in December 2022 in Valencia. He also won in his second appearance, the 2023 London Marathon, clocking a race-record 2:01.25, the second-fastest mark in history at the time.

Less than six months later, he went on to set the marathon world record with a 2:00:35 finish at the 2023 Chicago Marathon. That time edged Kipchoge's previous record of 2:01:09 from the 2022 Berlin Marathon.

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"I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of the marathon world record holder and rising star Kelvin Kiptum," Kipchoge, who owns five of the fastest 10 marathon times in history, wrote Sunday on social media. "An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness.

"I offer my deepest condolences to his young family. May God comfort you during this trying time."

Kiptum's record time from Chicago was ratified just last week by World Athletics.

"I am shocked and deeply saddened to learn the passing of Kelvin Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana," Rudisha, a two-time Olympic track gold medalist, wrote on social media. "My condolences to the families, friends, athletic fraternity and Kenya at large.

"This is a huge loss."

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