Kelvin Kiptum

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Kelvin Kiptum Cheruiyot (2 December 1999 – 11 February 2024) was a Kenyan long-distance runner and the marathon world record holder when he died. He ran three of the seven fastest marathons in history and was ranked first among the world's men's marathon runners.

Kelvin Kiptum
Kiptum at the 2023 London Marathon
Personal information
Full nameKelvin Kiptum Cheruiyot
Born(1999-12-02)2 December 1999
Chepsamo, Chepkorio, Kenya
Died11 February 2024(2024-02-11) (aged 24)
near Kaptagat, Kenya
Height1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight65 kg (143 lb)
SpouseAsenath Cheruto Rotich
EventLong-distance running
Coached byGervais Hakizimana (2023–2024)
Achievements and titles
Highest world ranking1st (Marathon, 2023)
Personal best
Medal record
Men's athletics
Representing Kelvin Kiptum - Wikidata Kenya
World Marathon Majors
Gold medal – first place 2023 London Marathon
Gold medal – first place 2023 Chicago Marathon

Kiptum won all three marathons he ran, including two top-tier World Marathon Majors (WMM) between December 2022 and October 2023. His times were three of the seven fastest marathon times, setting a course record of less than 2 hours 2 minutes in each race.

Kiptum ran the fastest-ever marathon debut at the 2022 Valencia Marathon, becoming only the third man in history to break two hours and two minutes and setting the then fourth-quickest time ever. He followed it up four months later with the second-fastest marathon in history at 2:01:25, 16 seconds outside the world record, at the 2023 London Marathon (WMM). At the 2023 Chicago Marathon six months later in October 2023, he broke the world record by 34 seconds with a time of 2:00:35, a mark ratified on 6 February 2024—five days before his death—by the international track federation World Athletics.

Early life

According to World Athletics, Kelvin Kiptum was born on 2 December 1999 – however, reported that Kiptum once said he was actually born in 1996, noting that he had a 7-year-old son at the time of his death. He grew up in Chepsamo village, Chepkorio, a high-altitude (~2,600 m) area in Elgeyo-Marakwet County of Kenya's Rift Valley.

He was the only child of Samson Cheruiyot and his wife. As a young boy, he herded his family's cattle and began following other barefoot runners along the forest trails.[citation needed] Kiptum started training around 2013, when he was 13 years-old.


In 2013, at the age of 13, Kiptum participated in his first half marathon, the Family Bank Eldoret Half Marathon in his native Kenya, finishing 10th; he placed 12th the following year. In 2018, he finished first with time of 62:01. He was self-coached at the time. In March 2019, Kiptum participated in his first international race, the Lisbon Half Marathon, finishing fifth with a new personal record (59:54). He participated in six other races that year touring north and west Europe, winning the Kass Half Marathon in his home country of Kenya in November 2019. In 2020, Kiptum started working with Rwandan 3000 metres steeplechase record holder Gervais Hakizimana as a coach, although Kiptum supposedly had periodically trained alongside other youths with him since 2013. Since about 2020, he was already preparing for the marathon. In December of that year, the then-21-year-old set a significant personal best in the Spanish Valencia Half Marathon marathon at 58:42, placing sixth. In 2021, he ran 59:35 and 59:02 half marathons in Lens, Pas-de-Calais (placing first) and Valencia again (placing eighth), respectively.

2022: Third man ever to break 2:02 in the marathon

In December, 23-year-old Kiptum pulled off an upset when debuting in the classic 42.195 km distance at the Valencia Marathon. Running with a negative split, he took the victory with the fourth-fastest time ever of 2:01:53, becoming the third man in history to break two hours and two minutes. Only his compatriot and then-world record holder Eliud Kipchoge and Ethiopia's Kenenisa Bekele had run faster up to that point. Kiptum set the quickest second half in marathon history with a time of 60:15 (including 14:00 from 30–35k and 28:05 between 30–40k). His winning time was by far the fastest marathon debut in history, smashing the course record by over a minute. He also beat the runner-up by more than a minute and the 2022 world marathon champion Tamirat Tola, the pre-race favourite, among others.

2023: Second-best ever followed by world record performances

Setting the world record at the Chicago Marathon in 2023

In April 2023, Kiptum set the course record at the London Marathon (2:01:25), 16 seconds slower than the world record but 72 seconds faster than Kipchoge's course record (2:02:37).

On 8 October 2023, Kiptum set the new world record at the Chicago Marathon (2:00:35), 34 seconds off the previous record set at the 2022 Berlin Marathon.

Training regimen

Following Kiptum's record-breaking performance in October 2023, his coach provided insight on the athlete's training regimen. Gervais Hakizimana stated that Kiptum logged 250 to 280 km (155–173 mi) per week in the lead-up to that year's London Marathon in April. His routine regularly featured daily morning runs spanning 25–28 km, track or fartlek workouts on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and intense long runs of 30–40 km at close to marathon pace on Thursdays and Sundays. He trained alternately in the high-altitude areas of Chepkorio and the nearby Kerio Valley (800–1,200 m) before the Chicago Marathon.

Personal life

Kiptum was married to Asenath Cheruto Rotich, with whom he had two children.

Death and reactions

On 11 February 2024, Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana died at 11:00 PM in a road traffic accident near Kaptagat. Local police stated that Kiptum lost control of his car and veered off the road, before entering a ditch and colliding with a tree. Four men who had visited him that day about a contract for running shoes were subsequently detained for questioning concerning Kiptum's death.

World Athletics President Sebastian Coe remarked: "On behalf of all World Athletics, we send our deepest condolences to their families, friends, team mates and the Kenyan nation. It was only earlier this week in Chicago, the place where Kelvin set his extraordinary marathon world record, that I was able to officially ratify his historic time. An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy, we will miss him dearly."

Former marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge said: "I am deeply saddened by the tragic passing of the Marathon World record holder and rising star Kelvin Kiptum. An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness. I offer my deepest condolences to his young family. May God comfort you during this trying time." Kenyan President William Ruto stated: "Kelvin Kiptum was a star. Arguably one of the world's finest sportsmen who broke barriers to secure a marathon record." He later ordered a house to be built for Kiptum's family, to be completed within a 40-day mourning period.

Kiptum was buried at his farm in Naiberi following a funeral ceremony in Chepkorio on 23 February 2024 that was also attended by Coe and Ruto.


Personal bests

Surface Event Time Place Date Notes
Track 10,000 metres 28:27.87 Stockholm, Sweden 4 May 2021
Road 10 km 28:17 Utrecht, Netherlands 6 October 2019
Half marathon 58:42 Valencia, Spain 6 December 2020
Marathon 2:00:35 Chicago, United States 8 October 2023 World record


Year Competition Venue Position Event Time Notes
2022 Valencia Marathon Valencia, Spain 1st Elite Platinum marathon 2:01:53 PB CR, 4th performance all time (WR 44 s+)
2023 London Marathon London, United Kingdom 1st World Marathon Majors 2:01:25 PB CR, 2nd performance all time (WR 16 s+)
Chicago Marathon Chicago, United States 1st 2:00:35 PB CR WR (previous WR 34 s-)

World Marathon Majors Series timeline

World Marathon Majors 2023
(Series XV)
Tokyo Marathon
Boston Marathon
London Marathon 1st
Berlin Marathon
Chicago Marathon 1st
New York City Marathon
Series standing Winner
50 pts

See also



External links

Preceded by Men's marathon world record holder
8 October 2023 – present
Succeeded by