The athletics world recently mourned the loss of Kelvin Kiptum Cheruiyot, the Kenyan marathon phenomenon, who passed away at the pinnacle of his career at 24 years old. Cheruiyot’s tenure in professional long-distance running, though brief, left an indelible mark on the sport, with his name etched in history as the marathon world record holder.
Cheruiyot’s legacy includes the extraordinary achievement of being the sole marathon runner to complete a race in less than two hours and one minute in an officially recognized event. His prowess was on full display across three marathon victories from December 2022 to October 2023, which featured two victories at the esteemed World Marathon Majors. Notably, his finishing times are recorded among the six quickest in the annals of marathon history. Remarkably, Cheruiyot shattered the two-hour and two-minute barrier in each race, a feat no other runner has matched.
In Valencia in 2022, Cheruiyot’s marathon debut was nothing short of spectacular, as he clocked the fastest-ever first-time finish and secured the third-fastest marathon time then at 2:02. The following year, he narrowly missed the world record by 16 seconds at the London Marathon, posting a time of 2:01:25. However, six months later in Chicago, the 23-year-old runner made history by breaking the world record by 34 seconds, completing the marathon in 2 hours and 35 seconds.
Despite Cheruiyot’s athletic accomplishments, there were unverified rumours about his personal life that circulated online after his death, including speculations about his sexuality. These claims, which suggested Cheruiyot was gay, lacked any credible evidence and seemed to be baseless conjectures aimed at drawing attention. Contrary to these rumours, Cheruiyot led a private life as a heterosexual man, married with two children, which indicates a committed relationship with his wife.
Cheruiyot’s spouse, Asenath Rotich, has stayed out of the limelight, with little information available about her professional life. Nevertheless, her support for her husband’s career was evident, as she often praised his commitment to his sport and his role as a father. Following Cheruiyot’s untimely passing, Rotich, along with their children and extended family, received numerous expressions of sympathy and support from across the globe. Through social media, individuals shared their condolences, acknowledging the immense loss for Rotich, who respected and supported her husband’s athletic endeavours.
The couple’s relationship, while kept away from the public eye, was undoubtedly filled with mutual respect and encouragement. The family now faces the profound sorrow of losing a loved one who was also a celebrated athlete and a central figure in their lives.
As public interest grew around Cheruiyot’s private life, particularly his dating history, it is important to note that he was a private individual, shying away from the spotlight regarding his personal relationships. Cheruiyot appeared to be more focused on his athletic goals and training, a common trait among elite athletes who seek to maintain concentration and avoid public distractions. Consequently, details of his past romantic relationships remain largely unknown, as he prioritized his ambition to excel in marathons over engaging with public curiosity about his private life.