The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Kenyan Marathoner Kelvin Kiptum Dies at 24

Kelvin Kiptum — father, husband, record breaking marathoner and modern icon for his home country of Kenya — sadly passed away at 24 years old after a car accident on Feb. 11. Kiptum was still early in his career, only running three world circuit marathons. He had won all of them, leaving behind the foundations of what very well may have evolved into him becoming an intergenerational star. 

In his debut at the 2022 Valencia Marathon, Kiptum not only placed first by over a minute, but he set the record time for fastest debut marathon ever and became the third person ever to break a time of 2:02:00 in a marathon. Upon the race’s completion, Kiptum’s finish stood as the fourth fastest of all time.

But he was not just a one hit wonder. In his next race in London 2023, he set the second fastest time ever, at 2:01:25, and he came in first place once again.

In his third and final race before the accident, he ran an astounding 2:00:35, breaking the record for fastest race of all time. Kiptum’s time beat out another Kenyan runner, Eliud Kipchoge, who is widely considered the world’s current best marathoner. Kipchoge has been a force to be reckoned with since he entered the world series, of which he is a five-time winner. He is also a two-time Olympic gold medalist and has only lost three races in his marathon world series career. Kiptum was on track to potentially surpass that level of achievement and lead a new generation of runners. Kipchoge praised Kiptum postmortem and displayed respect for his athleticism. President of Kenya William Ruto was another prominent figure who acknowledged the tragedy.  

“[He was] an extraordinary sportsman who left an extraordinary mark on the globe,” Ruto said of Kiptum, according to NPR.

This worldwide impact Kiptum has even manifested itself on Colgate Universitys campus. Senior Graeson Landsberg, a captain on the Colgate womens track team, spoke on Kiptums impact on the sport and the legacy he leaves behind.

Losing a talent like Kelvin Keptum is significant for the entire track and runner community. He serves as an inspiration for people around the world to conquer marathons and strive for the success he had, Landsberg said.

Kiptum was not only a star in the running scene, but also an inspiration to Kenyan people. Growing up in a poor family, Kiptum inspired people and showed Kenyans the result of perseverance and hard work. The popular Kenyan newspaper, The Standard, emphasized Kiptum’s aura of being the everyman-athlete.

“He’s your typical Kenyan athlete who endured sugarless tea and porridge while walking long distances barefoot to school,” wrote Jonathan Komen and Stephen Rutto. 

According to The Star, Kiptums funeral has been moved from Saturday, Feb. 24, to Friday, Feb. 23, due to Rutos trip to Nambia. The Kenyan government is taking care of all of the costs of the ceremony and burial.

Construction is also being done on a home for Kiptums family, which began on Feb. 16 and is set to finish by Feb. 22. The house is being built on a directive from Ruto and is being overseen by various government officials. The house was originally a wish of Kiptums for his family; they had plans to relocate in April 2024. The government has taken over the project in memory of Kiptum and in gratitude for his contributions to Kenya.

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