Kelvin Kiptum's house: The seven-day construction that shocked, then delighted Kenyans

Inside Kiptum's brand new house

What you need to know:

  • The contractor in charge of the project had the challenging task of completing the project in exactly one week.
  • By Thursday evening all the rooms in the three-bedroom house had been furnished with furniture from Kenya Prisons Service.

At 4.07pm on Friday February 23,  2024, Asenath Cheruto, the widow of the world's fastest marathoner Kelvin Kiptum, was handed the keys to her new home in Naiberi, Uasin Gishu County, by Sports Cabinet Secretary Ababu Namwamba, moments before her late husband was laid to rest in the compound.

It would mark the beginning of a new life for Cheruto as a widow in a new home, having spent the last ten years of her married life with Kiptum in their tiny three-bedroom wooden house in Chepsamo, Kaptarakwa, Elgeyo Marakwet County, in his parents' compound.

It must have been a moment of mixed emotions as Cheruto, accompanied by her two children, aged seven and four, walked into the fully-furnished three-bedroom house built in a record six-and-a-half days in honour of her late internationally acclaimed husband on their Cherunya farm. 

This was where the late international marathon runner had planned to settle his family by June - on four acres of land. According to his widow, he was in the process of getting approval for the construction plans from the district government.

The contractor in charge of the project had the challenging task of completing the project in exactly one week, and the team worked around the clock to meet the demand. He decided to use Light Gauge Steel (LGS), a modern but unpopular technology in Kenya, to complete the project.

Throughout the construction process, the house attracted the attention of Kenyans, some of whom criticised and even ridiculed the project.

Workers during construction of a house for world marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum, who died together with his coach Gervais Hakizimana in a road crash at Flax on the Eldoret-Kaptagat-Eldama Ravine road on Sunday night, at his farm in Naiberi, Uasin Gishu County on February 17, 2024.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

However, as pictures and videos of the finished product circulated on social media, most of the critics withdrew their earlier harsh comments and appreciated the result as worth the effort when it was finally unveiled.

The interiors were quite nicely finished and by Thursday evening all the rooms had been furnished with furniture from Kenya Prisons Service. This included sofa sets, beds and bedroom accessories in the three bedrooms and curtains to match.

The project team tried to make the house comfortable for the widow by providing some food and some utensils in the open kitchen and some toiletries in all three washrooms.

The house was constructed by Vastu Co. Ltd, who were brought in at short notice last week and rose to the challenge. Nation.Africa understands that it was on the orders of President William Ruto to give the fallen hero a befitting send-off.

Kelvin Kiptum

Workers construct the house for the late World Marathon record holder Kelvin Kiptum at his farm in Naiberi, Uasin Gishu County on February 18, 2024.

Photo credit: Jared Nyataya | Nation Media Group

Vaghjiyani Enterprises Limited (VEL), one of Kenya's leading contractors specialising in civil and general building works, was originally contracted to execute the project and approached Vastu Co- Ltd, who immediately took up the challenge as a subcontractor.

Under the leadership of team leader and owner Navin Patel, Vastu Co. Ltd, which specialises in drilling, blasting and Light Gauge Steel (LGS) construction needs, assembled a team of 15 workers who were immediately dispatched to begin work on the high-profile project on Friday afternoon.

By the evening of Thursday 22 February, the project was completed and ready for handover on Friday.

Security was tight at the newly completed house and the media was denied access to the compound until the funeral procession arrived from the Chepkorio Showground for the burial ceremony.


A compound where the remains of the late Kelvin Kiptum, the World Marathon Record Holder will be buried at Naiberi in Usain Gishu County on February 23, 2024.

Photo credit: JARED NYATAYA| Nation

After being handed the keys, Mrs Cheruto and her two children, accompanied by close family members, were led into the house by Anglican Church of Kenya clergy who purified every part of it in a dedication ceremony led by Bishop Paul Korir of Kapsabet, Nandi region.

Mr Namwamba, his counterpart in the Ministry of Transport, Roads and Public Works, Kipchumba Murkomen, and Uasin Gishu County Governor Jonathan Bii were among the leaders who escorted the family into the house. 

The athlete's body was then briefly brought into the house, in keeping with Kalenjin tradition, before the coffin was moved at 4.33pm to the burial site, a few metres away at the corner of the new site, where the final rites were performed. The athlete's coffin was lowered into the grave at exactly 4.50pm, after which wreaths were laid on the grave by family and dignitaries.

Mr Namwamba, while handing over the completed house to the widow, said Kiptum's father, Mzee Samson Cheruiyot, wanted his house to be built next to his son's grave and that was why the government had started a new house which would take about a month to complete as he wanted a conventional one.

For the staff of Vastu Co. Ltd staff, it was a moment of mixed emotions as he handed over the keys to the government for delivery to the family, having completed the project under pressure but on time.

Interestingly, the handover coincided with Navin Patel's birthday, a significant moment for him and Vastu-Co.Ltd.

Nation had earlier recounted the process of constructing the house, revealing how he received an urgent call last week with an invitation to an urgent housing project that had to be delivered in exactly seven days.

 "It was quite a challenge to accept as there was a lot to lose in terms of reputation, but we accepted anyway," he said, explaining that it normally takes three weeks to deliver such a project. 

In total, it took six trips to deliver the materials from Nairobi.

The project steel gauge technology used to deliver the project is the fastest construction technology on the market today, although it is not yet common in Kenya.

In this technology, the main materials used are steel, plywood for both the interior and exterior, plaster, insulation, cement boards and tiles, while the roofing is normal. Apart from the plywood used for the walls, no wood is used in this technology.  

Everything else is business as usual, including the architectural designs, although the steel and panel specifications are computer-generated, albeit by a Pinnacle software machine that guides the cutting and detailed assembly of the same to specifications before it is transported to the site. The same can be assembled on site.

The technology uses little cement - during tiling - and is largely a dry construction process with minimal water use, mainly during tiling.

The living room has an open plan kitchen and a modern granite sink has been installed. 

It took at least 25 workers to complete the project, 15 of them from Vastu Co. Ltd, while the rest were hired locally. They included electricians, plumbers, painters and others.