Former Seoul Marathon gold medalist Franklin Chepkwony passed away after collapsing on Monday in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County.
The 39-year-old had just finished a 23km training schedule when he collapsed on his way home.
According to his training partner Mike Boit, Chepkwony was in high spirits during training before they parted ways.
“Our training went well and he was in high spirits. I was called when I got home that my friend had collapsed and died but I couldn’t believe it. I rushed to his home, where I confirmed indeed he was no more,” he said.
Boit said Chepkwony was among the athletes who took part in the Nairobi City Marathon on July 2, where he placed 54th in 2:16:43.
According to his uncle, Joseph Tele, a colleague of his tried to administer first aid before a good Samaritan arrived and rushed him to Eldama Ravine Hospital, where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
“I was called when he was rushed to the hospital and unfortunately he passed on. We are now planning his burial. We shall announce the date of his burial once we agree as a family,” Tele said.
His body has since been moved to Eldama Ravine Mortuary awaiting his burial.
Chepkwony first burst into the limelight in 2011 during the Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon, where he came in second in 2:11:00 just five seconds behind Ernest Kebenei who won in 2:10:55.
His international debut came in 2012 at the Zurich Marathon, Switzerland, where he won with a time of 2:10:57.
Later that year, he set a personal best of 2:06:11 after finishing second at the Eindhoven Marathon in the Netherlands just 25 seconds behind the winner. The time ranked him 26th in the world that year.
In 2013, Chepkwony won the Seoul International Marathon on March 17th in a time of 2:06:59, bagging $80,000 for finishing the race under 2:10:00.He later ran his second marathon in the Netherlands in October but disappointingly finished seventh with a time of 2:09:53.
He later bounced back with an emphatic win at the Boulogne-Billancourt Half Marathon in France setting a course record of 1:00:11.
In 2014, Chepkwony participated in the Boston Marathon and finished third, his first top finish in World Marathon Majors.
Various Kenyan athletes took to social media to express their sorrow for the loss of a marathon great.