Back to Africa Check

Ignore fabricated screenshot of alleged online row involving Kenyan marathoner Eliud Kipchoge

IN SHORT: Long-distance runner Eliud Kipchoge’s relationship with the man who usurped his marathon record, Kelvin Kiptum, has been much discussed in Kenya. But Kipchoge did not threaten to sue a social media user in a private conversation.

In February 2024, men’s marathon world record holder Kelvin Kiptum died in a road crash in Kenya at the age of 24.

Kiptum had wrested the record from fellow Kenyan Eliud Kipchoge in October 2023. The relationship between the two men has been in the spotlight ever since. 

Following Kiptum's death, Kipchoge took to social media to offer his condolences. But it drew criticism from some Kenyans who questioned his sincerity, citing his perceived silence in congratulating Kiptum when he broke his record. 

One of them was a user on X (formerly Twitter) who shared a post on 12 February 2024 that was highly critical of Kipchoge. It was seen more than 195,000 times and generated hundreds of reactions.

The same user then claimed to his over 27,000 followers that Kipchoge had threatened to sue him if he did not delete his earlier post.

Kipchoge reportedly wrote: “Hello, kindly delete what you’ve posted or I’ll file a lawsuit against you for defamation! Thank you.”

To which the X user apparently replied that the athlete could go ahead and sue him.

So was marathon legend Kipchoge, also a two-time Olympic champion, involved in this online exchange with the X user? We checked.


Doctored screenshot

According to the screenshot message, Kipchoge's username appears to be the same as the one that appears on his official and verified account. However, there appears to be a section missing from the screenshot bio.

On 20 February, Kipchoge had 547,705 followers on X. The screenshot shows that the messages allegedly sent on 12 February were sent when he had 543,000 followers.

According to Social Blade, an online analytics website, Kipchoge had 541,135 followers on the day in question.

Also, you can only see Kipchoge's username if you try to send a direct message to him on X. You won't be able to see his bio if you don't follow each other, as the screenshot shows. The X user is not followed by Kipchoge.

The screenshot has been fabricated.

Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.