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Sun. Apr 21st, 2024

Kenya’s athletics community mourns the tragic loss of Kelvin Kiptum, the 24-year-old world marathon record-holder, who will be laid to rest on Friday in the Rift Valley, the very region where he was born, trained, and tragically lost his life in a car accident.

The funeral, expected to draw dignitaries including President William Ruto and World Athletics head Sebastian Coe, marks the somber conclusion to a promising career cut short.

Kiptum’s untimely demise on February 11 shook the world of athletics, coming just months after his groundbreaking performance in Chicago where he shattered the marathon record, crossing the finish line in an astonishing two hours and 35 seconds. His sudden departure leaves a void in the sport, with Kiptum’s remarkable talent and potential extinguished far too soon.

Despite his brief yet illustrious career, Kiptum’s impact on the marathon world was profound. Winning all three of the marathons he competed in, he claimed three of the seven fastest times for the event, showcasing his extraordinary skill and dedication to his craft. His legacy reverberates throughout Kenya and beyond, with fans and athletes alike grappling with the loss of a rising star.

As preparations for the funeral unfolded, tributes poured in from all corners of the country. In his home village of Chepkorio, mourners gathered to honor Kiptum’s memory, reflecting on his promising future and the void left by his absence. The outpouring of support underscores the profound impact Kiptum had on his community and the wider athletics world.

In the lead-up to the funeral, a solemn candlelight vigil in Nairobi provided an opportunity for reflection and remembrance, as hundreds gathered to pay their respects to the fallen athlete. The vigil served as a poignant reminder of Kiptum’s enduring legacy and the indelible mark he leaves on the hearts of those who knew him.

As Kiptum is laid to rest in Naiberi, near Eldoret, where a new home is being built for his grieving family, the athletics community grapples with the loss of not only a talented athlete but also a beloved friend and teammate. While the circumstances surrounding his death remain under investigation, Kiptum’s memory will endure as a testament to his extraordinary achievements and the enduring spirit of Kenyan athletics.

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