Running with the Kenyans

I told my boyfriend if I could give him any advice for training for our upcoming Rock ‘n Roll half marathon, it was to read an inspirational running book.  I swear they’re almost as effective as running actual miles!


Yesterday I finished Adharanand Finn’s Running with the Kenyans.  It was just the book to get me back into the committed reading spirit.  As I have mentioned before, I have a lot of books in queue.  It’s been a while since I’ve finished a book and I needed just the right one to hook me in.  I think I found it.

Adharanand Finn travels to Kenya with his family to live and train for 6 months.  His main motive is to learn the secrets of some of the fastest men in the world: Kenya’s elite runners.  Adharanand forms a running team, named the Iten Town Harriers, and all of its members agree to run in the Lewa Marathon.  Through their training and camaraderie, Adharanand comes to learn that there is no real secret to the Kenyan’s speed; it’s not just one singular, magical thing.  It’s an accumulation of all things that are natural and make-up the Kenyan lifestyle.  These include: focus and dedication, tough/physical upbringing, barefoot running, altitude, running to school, training camps, rest, diet, desire to succeed and expectation that winning can change their lives.

My favorite part is when one of his teammates, Japhet, shows Adharanand his college application.  “He never sent it off because he couldn’t afford the fees.  The form is kept, though, as testament to his ambition.  It’s even on his resume, which he pulls out and shows me.  Under “Talents and Achievements” it says, handwritten in blue pen, “Form filled in for Moi University.”

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who loves inspirational running books and/or to anyone who is interested in learning the “secrets” of Kenyan runners.


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