Marathon champion Kessio murdered in Kenya
Bermuda Marathon champion Richard Tirop Kessio was brutally killed in his Kenyan homeland.
Police in the western city of Eldoret have launched a murder investigation after the “cold-blooded” killing of Mr Kessio, 43, and his friend, Matthew Kimutai Kemboi, according to the Citizen newspaper in Kenya. The bodies of both men were found with deep multiple injuries on the outskirts of the city after the incident in the early hours of Thursday.
Mr Kessio and Mr Kemboi had been at a local pub before leaving for home at midnight, the Citizen reported.
The athletics community in Bermuda reacted with shock at the death of Mr Kessio, a three-times marathon winner between 2010 and 2014 who was described as a gentle and kind man.
Anthony Raynor, the chairman of Bermuda Marathon Weekend, said: “We are really saddened and shocked by the news.
“Richard was a really nice person and a friend to the event. We kept in touch with each other and spoke as recently as November. He always expressed an interest in visiting Bermuda, even if he may not return as one of the elite runners.
“He was just gentle and always had kind words. He used to call and say, ‘Hey Anthony, how is the race?' He had a kind heart and was always smiling.”
Mr Raynor said he was stunned at the violent nature of the killing.
He said: “I would like to know, but we will have to wait and see. It just doesn't make sense.”
He added that Mr Kessio, who spent much of his time training in Houston, Texas, leaves many friends in many places.
Mr Kessio won the Bermuda Marathon Weekend Marathon in 2010, 2013 and 2014, and is one of only three men to have won the event three or more times.
His 2010 winning time of 2hr 17min 32sec is one of the fastest in the island marathon's 43-year history.
He also enjoyed a string of victories in the Barbados Marathon, in the United States, and was named one of the 2014 Masters Long Distance Runners by Running Times.
Athletics Kenya president Lieutenant-General Jackson Tuwei told the Citizen: “It's always shocking to learn of the loss of an athlete.
“For now we wait for the detailed investigation report so we can establish the cause.”