I Received A Lot Of Bad Things: Eliud Kipchoge Reveals Online Abuse After Kelvin Kiptum's Death  - The Running Channel Advertisement

I Received A Lot Of Bad Things: Eliud Kipchoge Reveals Online Abuse After Kelvin Kiptum’s Death 

BY: Mark Dredge
07 May 2024

The great Kenyan marathoner runner Eliud Kipchoge has revealed that he faced online threats and abuse after the death of fellow Kenyan runner Kelvin Kiptum.

Kiptum broke Kipchoge’s marathon world record by running 2:00:35 at the 2023 Chicago Marathon, but was tragically killed in a car accident in February 2024. As Kipchoge was mourning the death of his countryman, he was “shocked that people [on] social media platforms are saying ‘Eliud is involved in the death of this boy’,” he explained in an interview with the BBC from his home in Kenya.

These unfounded conspiracy theories suggested that Kipchoge was somehow implicated in Kiptum’s death, while others accused Kipchoge of not publically congratulating Kiptum when he broke the world record. Kiochoge claims that he lost many of his friends because of the stories which were wrongly spread online. 

“I received a lot of bad things,” says Kipchoge. “They will burn my investments in town, they will burn my house, they will burn my family,” he said. His sons had to hear things like “Your dad has killed somebody’.” Even his mother told him to be careful. “She told me ‘Just take care’ and ‘A lot has been going on’.” Kipchoge is emotional when he remembers this, but also talks about how his mother gave him courage in what was “really a tough month.” 

While the threats never materialised, Kipchoge had to ensure that his family took extra precautions in the weeks following Kiptum’s death. He also stepped back from social media for a while, focusing on training towards the Tokyo Marathon, but the stress was likely a factor in a poor performance in Japan where he finished in 10th place.

Now he’s in full training towards the Olympics, and is hopeful that the events of earlier this year are behind him and he can focus on his ultimate goal: “I want to go into history books, to be the first human being to win back-to-back-to-back,” he explained of his aim to win the Olympic marathon for the third Games in a row.


This story reveals how even one of the world’s greatest athletes, who has dedicated his career towards celebrating running for everyone and spreading the message that no human is limited, is subject to online abuse. In response to this and the trolling and threats that athletes face online, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that it will be using artificial intelligence to help protect athletes from online abuse.

“If you will be competing at the Olympic Games Paris 2024, and you have a public-facing social media channel you will be automatically covered,” explained Olympics.com. It will cover all major social media platforms and will detect in 35 languages, and is intended to identify the type and gravity of online abuse, then to report and expedite the removal of the comments, while also properly looking into the criticism and abuse faced by athletes to gain greater insight into trolling patterns. 

Kipchoge believes this is an important move from the IOC. “They are now stamping their authority and their function as an organisation handling the athletes to safeguard them from abuse,” he says. 

Now Kipchoge is hoping that the abuse and threats are behind him as he tries to win his historic third gold in the marathon for Kenya.



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