Kenya Marathon Star Kiptum’s funeral Brought Forward To Friday

The funeral for Kenyan global marathon record-holder Kelvin Kiptum, who died in a vehicle incident earlier this month, has been moved to Friday, according to the country’s athletics organization.

Kiptum’s death, just a few months after breaking the world marathon mark and before the Paris Olympics, devastated both his home country and the athletics world.

“Kelvin will be laid to rest on Friday, February 23rd, 2024 at his home in Chepkorio Village, Elgeyo Marakwet,” Athletics Kenya said on Tuesday.

The government promised a “heroic farewell” to the young marathon sensation, who was set to be buried on February 24.

A Kenyan athletics official told AFP on Tuesday that the funeral will be a “state function” with President William Ruto in attendance, and that it had been moved up by one day due to his schedule.

Kiptum, a 24-year-old father of two, died in a late-night car accident on February 11 near his house in Eldoret, a high-altitude training hub in western Kenya’s Rift Valley.

His Rwandan coach, Gervais Hakizimana, also perished in the crash, and a female passenger was injured.

The teenage athlete had only run three marathons and set three of the event’s all-time fastest seven times.

In October, Kiptum ran the Chicago marathon in two hours and 35 seconds, 34 seconds faster than his Kenyan opponent Eliud Kipchoge.

He was the odds-on favourite to win gold at the Paris Olympics, where he would face Kipchoge for the first time.

“The only way to honour my brother Kiptum is by winning the 2024 Olympic marathon and bringing the victory home,” Kipchoge wrote on X last week.

Kiptum was the latest of several Kenyan athletes to die in recent years, prompting MPs to demand improved support and protection for the country’s sporting prowess.

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