Kenya marathon star Kiptum's funeral to be held 24 February

athletics14 February 2024 14:33| © AFP
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Kelvin Kiptum © Gallo Images

The funeral for Kenya's world marathon record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, who died in a car crash at the weekend, will be held on February 24, an athletics federation official told AFP on Wednesday.

"We have settled on 24 February following consultations with the family and the government which have taken over all the funeral arrangements and protocol," Athletics Kenya executive committee member Barnabas Korir said, a day after visiting the bereaved family.

Kiptum, a 24-year-old father of two, and his Rwandan coach Gervais Hakizimana were killed in a car accident on Sunday night in the Eldoret area, the heartland of Kenyan distance running in the west of the country.

His death, just four months after he broke the world marathon record, shocked Kenya and the world of athletics.

"We expect some high dignitaries to attend the burial including the President William Ruto and the head of World Athletics Seb Coe," Korir said.

He added that the funeral service would be funded by the government and would take place in Kiptum's family home in Chepsamo, near Eldoret in the Rift Valley.


"In honour of Kenya's departed world marathon record holder, a true national hero, the Government will support Kiptum's family in according him a befitting heroic farewell," Kenya's cabinet said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Kiptum was a sporting powerhouse whose record shattering achievements inspired millions around the world. He remains the only human in history to run a marathon under two hours and 1 minute."

Kiptum shattered the world marathon record in Chicago in October last year, slicing 34 seconds off the previous fastest time set by his Kenyan rival, Eliud Kipchoge.

He was the favourite for the marathon at the Paris Olympics, where he was expected to go head to head with Kipchoge for the first time.

Athletics Kenya also announced on Wednesday that it was cancelling trials for the African Games that had been due to take place this coming Friday and Saturday "in honour of the late Kelvin Kiptum".

It said the selection process for the team that will represent Kenya at the Games, set to be staged in Ghana's capital Accra next month, will take place at a future as yet unspecified date.

Tributes have poured in for Kiptum, with Coe describing him as "an incredible athlete leaving an incredible legacy".

Kiptum was the latest in a number of Kenyan athletes to have lost their lives in recent years, and lawmakers on Tuesday had called for better support and protection for the country's sporting talent.