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HomeSPORTSWidow to Kiptum's Coach Hakizimana Speaks After Fatal Accident

Widow to Kiptum’s Coach Hakizimana Speaks After Fatal Accident

Widow to Kiptum’s Coach Hakizimana Speaks After Fatal Accident

Joan Chelimo had planned her week well.

Monday was expected to be an extraordinary day, as her daughter was set to begin her education.

She posted photos of her daughter wearing her school uniform, alongside her husband Gervais Hakizimana, who was the coach of the late marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum.

Amid their exhilaration, they decided to discuss in twenty minutes; little did they know it would be their final exchange before her world crumbled.

Before this week, Hakizimana, the individual responsible for the achievements of the late Kiptum, was relatively unknown among Kenyans.

The inseparable pair, beyond being close friends, tragically lost their lives on Sunday evening in a car crash near Kaptagat Forest.

Two days have passed, and Joan still struggles to accept the loss of her husband. Following their phone conversation just after 10 pm, where he assured her they would talk again, she never received the promised call. Instead, more than an hour later, she was informed by a friend about his demise.

“My friend told me that Kiptum had been involved in an accident. I was shocked because when he left he was with Kiptum. I hung up at first but my friend called again to ask whether I was with my husband but I said he left with Kiptum,” said the grieving widow.

Afterward, she phoned her mother to visit her husband, who resides close to his training facility in Kaptagat. Upon arrival, they discovered the training camp was deserted, prompting neighbors to join in the effort to locate the coach.

Later on, Joan would receive a subsequent phone call that would utterly devastate her morale.


“My friend had by this time arrived at the scene and they gave me the bad news that my husband was no more,” said Joan.

Joan mentions that her husband and Kiptum had been acquainted for an extended period, predating his coaching career.

While still a teenager attending school, Kiptum, the athlete at the time, used to pursue Hakizimana in the woods during their training sessions.

“When my husband would meet Kiptum in the forest, he would chase him away but Kiptum would insist that he wanted to be a professional runner,” said Joan.

Due to the impact of COVID-19, coaches and athletes grew closer as competitions and travel were restricted. Despite being based in France, Hakizimana postponed his family’s relocation plans to prioritize fostering Kiptum’s aspirations.

“When they started bonding, my husband told me to stay put in France for a bit. He said he wanted to train Kiptum to break the marathon record which he eventually did,” said Joan.

The passing of Hakizimana has created a significant void within the family, and Joan expresses that she is unsure how to begin a new chapter in life without her husband, even before his funeral.

“I look at my phone every time thinking that my husband will call me. It’s so hard since he used to call me often,” she said.  

The Hakizimana family from Rwanda has already made their way to Kenya to coordinate arrangements for transporting the deceased coach back to their home country for burial.

Widow to Kiptum’s Coach Hakizimana Speaks After Fatal Accident