As brilliant as the marathon world record he achieved last October 8 in Chicago (2h 0m 35s) was the passage through the life of Kelvin Kiptum, a Kenyan athlete who died at the age of 24 years and 72 days at 11:00 p.m. on Sunday when He lost control of the Toyota Premio he was driving and crashed into a tree on the road of champions, the Eldoret-Kaptaglat, the main artery of the Rift Valley, the East African fault line in which the greatest marathoners of the world were born. history.
Along with Kiptum, his coach, the Rwandan Garvais Hakizimana, died.
Sharon Kosgey, a woman who accompanied them in the vehicle, was seriously injured, according to the police commander of Elgeyo Marakwet province, Peter Mulinge, and reported by France Presse.
She was a talent blessed by the gods and punished by destiny, a talent, thus, of an artist.
He was born, and the universe already proclaimed it, to become the first man to climb the Everest of athletics, running a marathon in less than two hours.
He died exactly two months and three days before the date set for it, April 14, when it was announced that in Rotterdam, a flat, ideal route, he would achieve it.
World marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum dies in a traffic accident
Throughout his short athletic life, Kiptum, a prodigy of precocity, was a specialist in leaving the world with its mouth open in admiration, and scratching its head, because, as happens with geniuses, no one knew how to find a rational explanation for the mystery. of his enormous talent.
And also like the geniuses, Kiptum was determined to break all the codes established in the little more than a century of existence of the marathon, the 42.195 kilometer test, as the summum of endurance and speed athletics.
Condition of the car in which Kelvin Kiptum was traveling, who died this Sunday.
None of the greatest in history, Abebe Bikila, the barefoot Ethiopian, nor Eliud Kipchoge, the master of distance, the exact mix of mysticism and rationalism, and the help of the technological development of sneakers, managed greatness in such a short time.
Bikila was 28 years old when he broke the world record (2h 15m 16s) by winning the Olympic gold in front of the Colosseum in Rome, on September 10, 1960. Kipchoge, from Kaptagat precisely, the city where the road on which he Kiptum died, he was about to turn 34 when he achieved his first world record in Berlin, 2h 1m 39s, on September 16, 2018.
Only his compatriot Sammy Wanjiru, Olympic champion in Beijing 2008 at the age of 21, a race in which he challenged the heat and suffocating humidity of the Chinese capital running in a way that was then called madness, alone, in front of everyone, without fear from the beginning, and broke the Olympic record (2h 6m 32s), he could compete in genius, precocity, in life and death, excess and tragedy.
Also Chicago, at the age of 23, was the last race of a life in which he was the youngest to win four major marathons, and he also died at the age of 24, and of death due to trauma, a fall from the balcony of a second floor, drunk and mysterious.
Kiptum has had time to run three marathons.
The three made him already legendary before becoming an eternal legend with his early death.
The three made exceptional news, all three under two hours and two minutes, a barrier that only four athletes in history (along with Kiptum and Kipchoge, the Ethiopians Kenenisa Bekele and Sisay Lemma. The first, in Valencia, on the 4th of December 2022, just turned 23 years old, 2h 1m 53s that put an end to the myth that to be great in long-distance events you had to be a mature athlete, expertly wise, with your body already beaten and accustomed to strenuous training. second, five months later, in London, 2h 1m 25s, and no one had ever run so fast along the banks of the Thames, and the third, in Chicago, last October, in which he established as dogma that to be the best in the marathon You had to run the first half marathon very fast (and you did it in 60m 48s) and even faster, what was thought impossible, the second half.
To reach the record of 2h 0m 35s, and he finished smiling, almost, pointing a finger at the spectators who cheered him, a la Kipchoge, and fresh as a lettuce, he ran the second half in Chicago in 59m 47s, a time that It would have been enough to be sixth in the World Championship in the specialty, and only 8 seconds slower than Carlos Mayo's Spanish record.
2m 52s per kilometer, almost 21 kilometers per hour.
If the shoes with carbon plates and wide soles made of very light foam were not alien to the wonder of their times, and their elegant stride, so bouncy and fluid, only Kiptum, among so many thousands of athletes graced by technology, has been able to take the marathon to another dimension.
The irrational dimension.
The opposite of established reason.
Doping suspicions were inevitable.
One who in his first marathon sets the second mark in history is either a marvel or a cheater, and in Kenya, where the marathon is the best way out of poverty, the world athletics anti-doping agency discovers dozens of positives when year, their coach who also died in the accident, Garvais Hakizimana, a Rwandan who lived in Lyon, France, for most of the year, responded seriously to them.
“The best explanation for his time is his desire to get out of hunger and misery and a physiological capacity magnified by his life at altitude,” Hakizimana explained in L'Équipe a few months ago.
“And he has passed dozens of anti-doping controls.
I even remember one day when he had a blood test at 10 and another one just four hours later.”
Hakizimana had discovered Kiptum in 2009, when the deceased athlete was only 10 years old and still tried to follow the Rwandan, who spent every day training in front of his house in Chepkorio, Rift Valley, at 2,600 meters of altitude.
And since every year he trained on the same track, Hakizimana saw him grow and progress non-stop.
In 2014, when Kiptum was 15 years old, Hakizimana finally decided to start training him.
“I put half the load on it of what I did.
If I had 15 kilometers he would do seven, and even so, very soon he was able to keep up with my pace,” explained the Rwandan in the French newspaper.
Eleven half marathons between 2018 and 2021, between the ages of 19 and 22, with an average of one hour and 13 seconds, preceded his three marathons, the three works of art for which he will forever be remembered, and for the lament for the early death of such a great talent, which will force the delay of man's arrival on the marathon moon, 42.195 kilometers in two hours minus one second.
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