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How death robbed Kiptum chance to set his Amsterdam Marathon top target

Tuesday, February 13th, 2024 10:27 | By
Kelvin Kiptum in a World Athletics event. PHOTO/World Athletics.
Kelvin Kiptum in a World Athletics event. PHOTO/World Athletics

The late Kelvin Kiptum had the goal of setting another record in the Amsterdam Marathon in April 2024.

Unfortunately, the marathon record holder died in a road accident that occurred on Sunday night, and the cruel hand of death could not allow him to achieve his goal.

The 24-year-old was targeting a sub-two-hour time at April's Rotterdam Marathon. This is a benchmark that has never been achieved in an open race, and this would have cemented a place in the history books.

"That might look ambitious, but I'm not afraid of setting these kinds of goals. There is no limit to human energy," Kiptum said last November, referencing the "no human is limited" philosophy of Eliud Kipchoge, whom he broke his marathon record in October.

Kiptum's achievement in the discipline was astronomical, given that before 2022 he had never even run the full distance.

He rose to the top echelons in the marathon field after breaking Kipchoge's record by more than half a minute when he completed the 42.2km race in two hours and 35 seconds on the Chicago course.

Naturally, the majority of marathon runners have remained active up until they hit 40 years old, and that means Kiptum, 24 and father of two, had at least 16 years to establish himself as a legendary figure.

Kiptum had been described in laudable terms by a number of athletes, including Wesley Korir, who has so far retired.

"[He's a] very humble guy, down to earth, doesn't talk much, but when he runs, he runs like a machine,"  Korir told the BBC about Kiptum.

Kelvin Kiptum reacts after breaking the men marathon record in Chicago on Sunday. PHOTO/Kelvin Morris
Kelvin Kiptum reacts after breaking the men marathon record in Chicago on Sunday. PHOTO/Kelvin Morris

Career choice

Kiptum's choice of career was not that smooth, as his move to concentrate on athletics faced opposition even from his father.

"He wanted me to study to pursue my diploma to be an electrician, but I was saying that I needed to be an athlete - I had that passion.

"That period was very hard for me because I trained for four years, yet there were no successes, and they were disappointed in me. But I kept on pushing," Kiptum said in an earlier interview.

His father later changed his mind and even became his scion's great fan and even helped him get early morning training.

The father, after the Chicago Marathon fete, said his son was obedient and had stayed true to his upbringing.

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