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Kelvin Kiptum’s widow breaks down at the Rotterdam Marathon’s start line

Kelvin Kiptum’s widow Asenath Rotich broke down at the start line of the Rotterdam Marathon on Sunday, April 14.

Asenath was overcome by emotion when the organisers of the marathon paid a glowing tribute to Kenya’s fallen world marathon record holder.

The master of ceremonies announced the start of the minute’s silence in honour of her late husband after he had urged the 50,000 runners to support the Kelvin Kiptum Foundation.

Margaret Shava comforts Asenath Rotich
Kenya’s Ambassador to the Netherlands Margaret Shava comforts Asenath Rotich, the widow of Kenya’s world marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum, at the start of the Rotterdam Marathon. PHOTO| ELIAS MAKORI

Asenath travelled to the Netherlands as a special guest of the race. Organisers also retired Kiptum’s “Number 1” race running bib in his honour.

The race attracted 50,000 runners and another 30,000 athletes were on standby with this year’s edition of the Dutch port city race having been over-subscribed last November when Kiptum announced that he would attempt to win the race in under two hours.

His spectacular announcement attracted huge interest in the race from runners who wanted to be part of history, with organisers Golazo maintaining the race slogan “Be Part of History” even after Kiptum’s tragic death, alongside his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana, on the Eldoret-Kaptagat road on the night of February 11.

The men’s race winner, Abdi Nageeye of the Netherlands, dedicated his victory to Kiptum and his training partners from Kaptagat, who included Kenneth Kipkemoi, the fourth-placed finisher.

Nageeye had pitched camp in Kaptagat to prepare for the race and also for the Paris Olympic Games.

Somali-born Nageeye won the men’s race in a Dutch national record time of two hours, four minutes and 45 seconds, an 11-second improvement of his previous record of 2:04:56.

Also at the start line on Sunday was Kenya’s National Treasury Principal Secretary, Dr Chris Kiptoo, who observed that had Kiptum lived, he would have competed in the race and would have achieved his ambition of breaking his own world record by clocking a sub-two hour time.

The PS, an avid follower of sport and patron of the Kaptagat 10-kilometre Road Race and tree-planting initiative that enters its eighth year this July, was accompanied by Kenya’s Ambassador to The Netherlands, Margaret Shava, Athletics Kenya President Lt. Gen. (Rtd) Jackson Tuwei, who is also the Vice President of World Athletics, and Golazo Founder and CEO Bob Verbeeck.

Bob Verbeeck consols Asenath Rotich
Bob Verbeeck, CEO and Founder of Golazo sports management company comforts Asenath Rotich, the widow of world marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum, as she was presented with a special, limited edition “Cheetah Pro” sports watch launched on Friday by Chinese company Amazfit ahead of Sunday, April 14 Rotterdam Marathon. The race will be run in honour of Kiptum, who was managed by Golazo, and who had planned to improve on his world marathon record in Rotterdam. PHOTO| NN Marathon Rotterdam


Kiptoo said July’s eighth edition of the Kaptagat Road Race and tree-planting drive will be held in honour of Kiptum.

“I’m very happy that this (Rotterdam Marathon) race has been dedicated to Kelvin Kiptum. This race was meant for Kelvin and he was determined to make a better performance than before, but God took him too soon and the world is using this opportunity to remember him,” Kitoo said.

“What I like is the fact that the leadership of this race has announced to the world that we are looking at the Kelvin Kiptum Foundation to not only support the family but also those that Kiptum supported. “I have come here not only as a member of Kelvin’s family but also as a member of the Government, having been on my way to the US for another official visit… we lost Kelvin but the world remembers him and we will soon be launching the Kelvin Kiptum Foundation in Kenya and engaging in activities that will keep him remembered.”