Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptum, who died aged 24 in a automobile crash on Sunday, blazed to athletics stardom when he seized the marathon world report in Chicago final October.
Born within the Rift Valley, the heartland of Kenyan distance working, Kiptum was barely a teen when he started following elite athletes coaching within the legendary high-altitude area.
He burst onto the marathon scene in 2022 with a shocking debut within the 26.2-mile (42.195-km) distance in Valencia the place he clocked 2:01:53.
World Athletics known as it the “quickest debut marathon in historical past”.
Lower than a yr later and racing solely his third marathon, he shattered the world report in Chicago, turning into the primary man to run beneath two hours and one minute in a record-eligible race.
After flying via the course, Kiptum started waving and blowing kisses at spectators earlier than crossing the end line.
“A world report was not in my thoughts as we speak,” he stated afterward. “I knew someday one time I’d be a world-record holder.”
At simply 23 years outdated, his time of two:00:35 shaved 34 seconds off fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge’s earlier report.
The 2 compatriots had been anticipated to run collectively for the primary time this summer season on the Paris 2024 Olympics.
Identified for sustaining a grueling coaching schedule that typically surpassed 300 kilometers per week, Kiptum had solely lately introduced he hoped to smash the mythic two-hour mark in Rotterdam in April.
“Kiptum was probably the most thrilling new prospects to emerge in street working in recent times,” World Athletics stated in a press release after his demise.
‘Run, eat and sleep’
Seemingly destined for superstardom, Kiptum skilled close to his dwelling village in Chepkorio.
Initially self-taught, he was later coached by Rwandan athlete Gervais Hakizimana, who additionally died within the Sunday night time crash.
Hakizimana met a younger Kiptum whereas doing coaching periods close to his dwelling.
“He was small however would comply with us, barefoot, after tending the goats and sheep. That was in 2013, he hadn’t actually began working but,” Hakizimana advised AFP in October.
At simply 13 years outdated, Kiptum entered his first half marathon in Eldoret in 2013, putting tenth. 5 years later he received the race.
When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Hakizimana and Kiptum stored busy with a rigorous routine.
“I stayed there for a yr and I skilled him,” Hakizimana stated. “We skilled within the forest. I’d run with him. We began a marathon program in 2021.”
Kiptum skilled so obsessively that his coach started to concern he would lower his profession brief.
“He’s in his greatest years however sooner or later I’m afraid he’ll get injured,” Hakizimana advised AFP in October after the Chicago report was set.
“I advised him that in 5 years he’d be carried out, that he must calm all the way down to final in athletics.”
Whereas making ready for the London marathon, Hakizimana revealed that Kiptum had spent three weeks logging greater than 300 km per week.
“There’s no weekly relaxation. We relaxation when he will get drained. If he doesn’t present indicators of fatigue or ache for a month, we proceed.
“All he does is run, eat, sleep.”
Hakizimana known as Kiptum a superb communicator “who listens so much”.
On the finish of the course in Chicago final yr, the coach and runner embraced on the end line, all their miles logged paying off as they made historical past.
However Kiptum’s speedy rise to fame led to sudden tragedy on Sunday night time.
He was on the wheel driving from Kaptagat to Eldoret round 11 pm (2000 GMT) when his automobile rolled, killing him and Hakizimana, in accordance with police.
A 3rd occupant of the automobile was hospitalized with accidents.
Kenyan President William Ruto stated Monday that Kiptum was “a rare sportsman” who left a mark on the world.
“Arguably one of many world’s most interesting sportsmen who broke obstacles to safe a marathon report,” Ruto stated on X after the working icon’s demise, describing Kiptum as “our future”.
Supply: sports activities.inquirer.internet