Kiptum's manager promises to give him befitting send-off

Kelvin Kiptum and his coach were Gervais Hakizimana killed in a traffic accident in the Rift Valley on Sunday. [Courtesy]

The late marathon World Record holder Kelvin Kiptum’s management has promised to help the family to give him a befitting send off.

Belgian athletics manager Marc Corstjens assured the families of the late Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana that they will support them to honour the departed sportsmen.

Corstjens said Golazo management will establish a Foundation to continue Kiptum’s dream to support the society.

The late athlete had promised to build a modern house for his young family, his parents and support vulnerable children from his Chepsamo village and beyond to access education.

“He had a dream for a better future. Kiptum’s dream of building a house and projects that would benefit his family will not stop,” Corstjens said.

The Belgian athletics manager spoke on Tuesday when he visited Kiptum’s home accompanied by a team from Golazo Kenya.

The planning committee said the late Kiptum will be laid to rest at Chepsamo on Saturday, February 24.

“We are thinking about establishing a foundation to support young children through basic education all the way to university in honour of departed Kiptum and his coach Gervais Hakizimana,” said Corstjens.

He said Kiptum was beginning to earn from his athletics career, and pledged that his family will receive all his pending earnings.

“It is the duty and the respect that we have for the athlete and his coach. These are terrible circumstances and we can’t let them down," he added.

Corstjens further said: “We are and indeed we work for the sport that everyone in Kenya likes. Athletics is the top sport in the country and we are working with top people and working for the future but that doesn’t mean that we have to forget the family. We will care about them and we will welcome their future.”

He revealed that Golazo management recognised Kiptum’s talent when he was only 17 years old.

Corstjens narrated that the world record holder and winner of London and Valencia marathons was first introduced as a pacesetter but proved that he was destined for stardom.

He said he watched a video of Kiptum running under 60 minutes in 21 kilometres and he was impressed by his performance.

“First, we needed to know what he had in his body. We needed to look at his training and motivation. We flew him out of the country to Lisbon and that was his first international competition when he immediately went under 60 minutes in the half marathon,” he said.

“He surprised again by running under 60 minutes in the next race and I discovered that he was not just a pacer for top athletes but given time, he would be the greatest athlete and that is what we built,” the manager added.

Kiptum had run about six half marathons before attracting attention at the 2022 Valencia Marathon, Corstjens said.

He said the late athlete's rise was slowed by the Covid-19 pandemic and an injury before the stunning win in Valencia in December 2022.

“Kiptum dreamt big. He always told me, don’t worry, I will run under two hours. How much he would go, we didn’t get to know,” Corstjens said.

“Those were the plans that we made in a nice atmosphere and in a friendly way. I will not only miss the sportsmanship, but the friendship,” he added.

Athletics Kenya Youth Development Director Barnaba Korir said the federation will ensure that the family receives the fallen athlete’s earnings.

“The family will be taken care of. It will be difficult to get an athlete who had all combinations of a good runner discipline, physique, and determination, like Kiptum,” he said.

Korir told Kiptum’s family that the marathon world record holder had agreed to represent the country at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Elgeyo Marakwet Governor Wisley Rotich urged athletes and the country’s leadership to attend Kiptum’s burial on February 24.

“We are urging Kenyans to stop the speculations on social media. We request the police to hasten investigations into the cause of the accident so that we find closure,” said the governor.