The passing of Kelvin Kiptum, a Kenyan long-distance runner, has left the country in mourning. Musalia Mudavadi, Kenya’s cabinet secretary, expressed his deep sadness over the loss of the young athlete and spoke highly of his remarkable talent and dedication to athletics. Mudavadi also praised Kiptum’s mentorship and leadership, which inspired many aspiring athletes to reach their full potential.
Kiptum made significant strides in long-distance running last year, breaking Eliud Kipchoge’s world record at the Chicago Marathon and dominating the London Marathon with the third-fastest time over 26.2 miles. He was widely considered a once-in-a-generation talent and was favored for Olympic gold in Paris, where Kipchoge aimed for a hat-trick of marathon titles. His historic time of 2hr 0m 35sec was set in October, and he was in the final weeks of training for the Rotterdam Marathon in April when he passed away suddenly.
Despite never having set foot on an athletics track before, Kiptum’s natural talent shone through as he began serious running barefoot while herding cattle for his family. His dedication to his craft earned him recognition as ‘off track’ athlete of the year by World Athletics in December 2020. As a tribute to his legacy, Mudavadi extended his thoughts and prayers to Kiptum’s family, friends, and teammates during this difficult time. He wished them comfort in their cherished memories and strength in supporting one another through this loss.