A Great Loss for Running

It always feels tragic when a person in the public eye dies suddenly; even moreso when that person is young.

The news of 24-year-old running sensation Kelvin Kiptum’s death last weekend sent shock waves through the running community.

Kiptum, along his with coach Gervais Hakizimana, passed away in a car accident in Kenya last Sunday night.

Kiptum was one of running’s brightest young stars. He is the current world record holder in the marathon, with a time of 2:00:35 from last October’s Chicago Marathon.

The 2022 Valencia Marathon saw Kiptum’s debut at that distance, which he won in 2:01:53– the fastest marathon debut in history.

Up next was another win at the 2023 London Marathon in 2:01:25, a new course record.

His performance at the Chicago Marathon was a sight to see. He destroyed the course record by more than three minutes and the world record (formerly held by Eliud Kipchoge) by a whopping 34 seconds.

RunBetter App co-founder Chris Wehrman was on the scene at the Chicago Marathon to witness Kiptum’s magic.

As a radio commentator for 670 The Score, Wehrman was in the car that kept track of the elite male runners of the race.

“I was so fortunate to watch him break the world record in Chicago,” said Wehrman. “It was exciting [to watch him] run the entire race right in front of me.”

It was Wehrman’s (and many others’) opinion that Kiptum’s career was just getting started.

“I was looking forward to watching him follow up on that performance,” said Wehrman.

When asked if he thought Kiptum had an even faster marathon time in him, Wehrman was adamant. “I believe he was capable of running another 1:30 faster. And now, the runner of a generation is gone. I just don’t know what to say.”

Kiptum leaves behind a family that included his wife and two young children.

To the running world, he leaves behind an incredible legacy, however short-lived.

Image courtesy of Chad Veal, CC BY-SA 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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