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Kelvin Kiptum: From humble village boy to world record beater

By Sammy Waweru February 24th, 2024 2 min read

As Kenya and the world bid farewell to the late World Marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum, insights into his athletic journey reveal a remarkable passion that ignited in his childhood years.

Born in 1999 in Kapkenda, Keiyo South, Elgeyo Marakwet County, Mr Kiptum’s affinity for sports blossomed at the tender age of 10, while he was in class four, according to his eulogy.

He was laid to rest on February 23, 2024, with President William Ruto among the dignitaries who attended the event to pay their respects.

Through the eulogy delivered by Prof Paul Kimurto, a lecturer at Egerton University, it was revealed that Kiptum’s dedication to training was unwavering, even as he tended to his parents’ livestock.

“Training was his routine. He would diligently pursue his athletic goals while simultaneously caring for his family’s animals,” Prof Kimurto informed the mourners.

Tragically, the father of two met his untimely demise on February 11, 2024, on the Kaptagat – Eldoret road, alongside his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, a Rwandese national.

The fatal accident occurred while Kiptum was behind the wheel.

Kiptum’s legacy as the World Marathon record holder was solidified when he set a groundbreaking record of 2:00.35 at the Chicago Marathon in October 2023, surpassing the mark set by fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge.

Just days before his passing, Kiptum’s record of 2 hours and 35 seconds was officially recognized by the International Track Federation World Athletics.

His passion for sports extended beyond his schooling years.

“While pursuing a certificate in electrical engineering at Chepkorio Vocational Training Center, he remained dedicated to his athletic pursuits,” Prof Kimurto recalled.

Even during his primary school years and throughout college, Kiptum’s commitment to athletics never wavered.

“He was an active participant in sports both in school and college. His dedication was evident as he would start his training as early as 5 am,” Prof Kimurto continued.

Before achieving global recognition with his marathon feats, Kiptum faced financial constraints that led him to focus primarily on-road training.

In the days leading up to his passing, he could be found training rigorously in Kerio Valley, covering distances of up to 42 kilometers per day.

As Kelvin Kiptum is laid to rest, his journey stands as a testament to unwavering dedication and passion that transcends boundaries and inspires generations to come.

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