Sir Mo Farah and Lord Sebastian Coe have paid their respects to Kelvin Kiptum on Monday after the Kenyan marathon runner died in a car crash late Sunday evening.
Kiptum, who died aged 24, ran the quickest ever ratified marathon time in Chicago last year. The record was approved by World Athletics last week.
Sir Mo Farah praised Kelvin as an “amazingly talented athlete” who has “achieved so much”. The Briton lost to winning runner Kiptum by over nine minutes in last year’s London Marathon.
“He truly had a special talent and I have no doubt he would have gone on to have had an incredible career,” he said.
“I send all my sympathies and condolences to his and Gervais’ [Hakizimana, coach] family and friends at this tragic time.”
Kiptum left ‘incredible legacy’
The president of the International Olympic Committee, Thomas Bach, said he had looked forward to seeing Kiptum compete at the Olympic Games Paris 2024.
Bach also paid respect to Hakizimana, Kiptum’s Rwandan coach who also died in the car crash in western Kenya. The high-altitude region is commonly used for training by long distance runners.
Seb Coe, who is the president of the International Association of Athletics Federations, said Kiptum is leaving “an incredible legacy”.
“We will miss him dearly,” he added.
Kiptum was training to become the first person to run an official marathon in under two hours. He hoped to set the record at the Rotterdam Marathon in April.
His Kenyan peer Eliud Kipchoge ran a marathon distance in a time of 1:59:40.2 at an event held by Ineos. The time was not officially recognised by World Athletics due to help from assisted runners, special spikes and a special timing car.
A 24-year-old woman was also reported to have been in the car. She was taken to hospital with serious injuries, local police said.
Kenyan politicians have also paid tribute to the national hero. The country’s sports minister Ababu Namwamba said Kenya had lost “a special gem”.