Kenyan marathon runner Kevin Kiptum was killed in a road accident on February 11.

Kiptum held the record for the fastest official time for a marathon at 2:00:35 which he achieved on October 8, 2023, at the Chicago Marathon. He turned 24 later that year on December 2 but never got the chance to run a marathon again.

Many people have heard of the famous sub-two-hour marathon completed by Kiptum’s fellow Kenyan marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge, although his time of 1:59:40:2 was done in an unofficial race in Vienna, Austria, in 2019. Kipchoge ran that race under ideal conditions on a flat, straight course with help from rotating pacesetters and unlimited access to hydration during the race.

Kiptum bested Kipchoge’s best official time by 34 seconds, which he ran in the 2022 Berlin Marathon. At 24, Kiptum had more marathon running left in his career than Kipchoge at 39, but the two were set up to toss this record around for a long time.

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Now Kenyans will mourn the loss of one of their greatest athletes of all time.

“An incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy,” said Sebastian Coe, the president of the global governing body World Athletics, describing the Kenyan’s footprint on the sport.

“Currently my days consist of eat, sleep, train and repeat,” Kiptum posted on social media last month. “My preparation is my main focus at the moment.”

Now the world will never know if could break his record or the fabled two-hour barrier.

Kiptum was expected to represent Kenya at the Paris 2024 Olympics this year alongside Kipchoge, who responded on social media following Kiptum’s passing.

“An athlete who had a whole life ahead of him to achieve incredible greatness,” Kipchoge wrote. “I offer my deepest condolences to his young family.”

Kiptum will leave behind his wife and two children, as well as a gaping hole in the professional distance running community. He will be keenly recognized in Rotterdam and at the Olympics, two events in which he would have been participating this year.

“I will get close to the sub-two barrier, so why not aim to break it?” Kiptum had noted in November. “That might look ambitious, but I’m not afraid of setting these kind of goals. There’s no limit to human energy.”

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