Frankline Chepkwony, a Kenyan marathoner who won several international races, died on Monday morning after a long run in Moringwo, Eldama Ravine.
The 38-year-old collapsed and died on his way home from his training session. His training mate tried to administer first aid, but he was pronounced dead on arrival at Eldama Ravine Hospital.
Chepkwony’s uncle, Joseph Tele, said the cause of death is still unknown and an autopsy is expected to be conducted soon. He described Chepkwony as a hardworking and humble person who loved his family and his sport.
“He was a very disciplined and dedicated athlete who always gave his best in every race,” Tele said. “He was also a farmer and a businessman who owned several plots of land and a hotel in Eldama Ravine. He was a role model to many young runners in this area and beyond.”
Chepkwony was born on February 10, 1985 in Eldama Ravine, Baringo County. He started running at a young age and joined the Global Sports Communication training camp in Kaptagat, Uasin Gishu County.
He made his international debut in 2012 with victory at the Zurich Marathon. He went on to win the Seoul Marathon in 2013 and finish third in the Boston Marathon in 2014. He also competed in other marathons such as Rotterdam, Frankfurt, Dubai, and Mumbai.
Chepkwony was married to Mercy Chepkwony and had three children. He is survived by his wife, children, and parents.
The athletics fraternity has expressed their shock and condolences over his death. Athletics Kenya president Jackson Tuwei said Chepkwony was a great ambassador of the sport and the country.
“We are deeply saddened by the sudden demise of Frankline Chepkwony,” Tuwei said. “He was one of our finest marathoners who brought glory to Kenya on many occasions. He was also a gentleman who respected his fellow athletes and officials. We send our heartfelt sympathies to his family and friends.”
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) also issued a statement mourning Chepkwony’s death and praising his achievements.
“We are shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Frankline Chepkwony,” the IAAF statement read. “A talented and accomplished marathoner who represented Kenya with distinction on the global stage. He was a true champion who inspired many people with his passion and perseverance. We extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.”
Chepkwony’s death is a blow to the Kenyan athletics community, which has lost several prominent runners in recent years due to various causes. His family and friends are mourning his loss and planning for his burial.