Running with the Kenyans


By Katie Moulton -

What makes Kenyans such good runners? That’s what Adharanand Finn sets out to discover the secret in his book Running with the Kenyans.

The high-altitude town of Iten is a mecca for long distance runners. Sitting at 2,400 meters (8,000 feet), the 4,000-person town boasts training camps for the elite. Boston and New York marathon winners and Olympic medalists spend their days running the endless Rift Valley dirt tracks.

A contributor to Runner’s World and an editor at the Guardian, Finn runs among Kenya’s giants in hopes of improving his pace. In Running with the Kenyans, Finn doesn’t just showcase Kenyan achievements, he examines the factors for why they succeed. He moves his family from England to Iten to join in the regime. He eats the local food, sleeps in the training camps and runs the dusty roads.

“A dusty road stretches into the distance like a pencil line across the arid landscape. Lions, rhino, and buffalo roam the plains on either side. But I haven’t come to Kenya to spot wildlife. I’ve come to run,” he writes.

Finn doesn’t find just one secret to Kenyan running dominance. He finds many. And after countless runs alongside Kenyan harriers, culminating with an entry in the Lewa Marathon, Finn discovers the runner within himself.

Part travelogue, part memoir, part instruction, Running with the Kenyans will inspire you to get up at dawn and lace up your shoes.

Ballantine Books

Photo credit: mandritoiu

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