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Kiptum’s last phone call before Manchester United beat Aston Villa

Moments before celebrated athlete Kelvin Kiptum breathed his last, he elected to watch an English Premier League match pitting Aston Villa against Manchester United.

But before that, the marathoner made a call to his better half, Asenath Cheruto Kiptum, one last time.

He’d finished training and it was routine to check on his family, especially the two kids, from time to time, considering he resided at an athlete’s camp as he prepared for his next big race – the Rotterdam marathon.

“We spoke for some time and he promised to call at half-time. I asked him what time that would be, and he told me to wait for the call. That did not happen and I retired to bed,” recalls a sobbing Cheruto.

Hours later, Kiptum, the fastest-ever runner in the history of the marathon, his coach Garvais Hazikimana and a female companion were involved in a tragic accident that claimed the lives of the two men and left the lady nursing serious injuries.

Nairobi News understands Kiptum enjoyed watching football as he relaxed from the grueling training schedule.

On this day, he watched struggling Manchester United edge an out-of-form Aston Vila 2-1 in an epic league match at Villa Park.

The 24-year-old would likely have enjoyed United, managed by Dutch coach Erik Ten Hag, take the lead via a Rasmus Hojlund strike in the opening half before Brazilian Douglas Luiz netted a superb equaliser before shaking his shoulders in celebration.

But all would end well for United and Kiptum, as Scott McTominay netted the winning goal, a result that was cushioned with a string of excellent saves from United goalkeeper Andre Onana.

Kiptum’s death, coming months after he set a record timing at the Chicago marathon, has shocked the world with condolence messages still trickling on, 36 hours later.

Police are investigating the death and the government has promised his family a befitting burial.

The English Premier is the most popular competition in Kenya. Each weekend, Kenyans from all walks of life throng entertainment joints to watch the tournament via satellite TV and cheer on their favourite teams including Arsenal, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.

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