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Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Marathon world record holder’s father Samson Cheruiyot

The grieving father of Kelvin Kiptum has made the chilling claim that four unidentified people had attended his home in search of the Kenyan marathon runner before his death.

In an interview with Kenya’s Citizen TV following the death of the men’s marathon world record holder in a car crash, Kiptum’s father also called for the Kenyan government to open an investigation.

Kiptum’s father, Samson Cheruiyot, broke down in tears while speaking to the media organisation, as other family members surrounding him also wept.

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“There are people who came home a while back who were looking for Kiptum, but they refused to identify themselves,” Kiptum’s father said.

“I asked them to provide identification, but they opted to leave. It was a group of four people.”

Kiptum, 24, and his coach, Rwanda’s Gervais Hakizimana, died in a car accident at 11pm on Sunday local time (Monday AEDT).

Police said that in a one-vehicle crash, Kiptum was driving when the car swerved off a road between the towns of Eldoret and Kaptagat in western Kenya. The car veered into a ditch and hit a tree.

A woman travelling with them, identified as Sharon Chepkirui Kosgei, survived the crash but was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

“I got the news of my son’s death while I was watching the news,” Kiptum’s father said.

“I went to the scene of the accident but the police had taken the body to Eldoret.”

Kiptum broke Kenyan legend Eliud Kipchoge’s marathon world record at the Chicago Marathon last October, storming through the race in two hours and 35 seconds (2:00:35).

Kiptum owns three of the seven fastest marathon times ever recorded, having posted 2:01:53 in the 2022 Valencia Marathon, 2:01:25 in last year’s London Marathon and 2:00:35 in Chicago last year.

The young Nike-sponsored sensation had been locked in for April’s Rotterdam Marathon, in which he was going to attempt to run the first official sub-two-hour marathon in history.

He was set to make his Olympic debut at the Paris Games in August, taking on Kipchoge in what had shaped as an enthralling showdown between the two fastest marathon runners ever.

Kiptum’s father said he last spoke to his son a day before his death.

“He told me someone will come and help us build a house,” he said.

“He said that his body is now fit and he can now run for 1:59.

“Kiptum was my only child. He has left me, his mum and his kids. I have no other child. His mum was sick for a while. Right now I’m deeply saddened.”

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