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CHAMP 15: BIRTHPLACE OF SUPERSTARS

15 Apr 2018, General

IF YOU PICK ANY LONG-DISTANCE RACE SINCE THE LATE 1980S, YOU MIGHT FIND OUT ABOUT 70 OR 80 PERCENT OF ITS WINNERS HAVE BEEN FROM KENYA. DURING THE LAST OLYMPICS IN RIO 2016, ALL 13 OF THEIR MEDALS CAMEFROM ATHLETICS, 9 FROM LONG- AND MIDDLE DISTANCE RUNNING EVENTS, OF WHICH FIVE WERE GOLD. IN TOTAL,67 OF THE 102 MEDALS THEY HAVE WON AT THE OLYMPICS SINCE THEIR FIRST PARTICIPATION IN MELBOURNE IN 1965 CAME FROM RUNNING. DURING A TRAINING CAMP FROM JANUARY 17 TO FEBRUARY 3 IN THE KENYAN RIFT VALLEY, EIGHT STUDENT-ATHLETES FROM ASPIRE ACADEMY FOUND THEMSELVES IN A UNIQUE ENVIRONMENT THAT IS KNOWN FOR PRODUCING SOME OF THE WORLD’S BEST RUNNERS. A TRIP THAT SHOWED THEM A NEW SIDE OF THEIR SPORT.

For many, the small town of Iten in the highlands of Kenya is known under a different name. They call it the“Town of Runners.” Situated in the Rift Valley province, at approximately 35 kilometers from the city Eldoret, Iten lies at an altitude of 2,400 meters and is the centre of Kenyan middle- and long distance running. Here you find hundreds of the fastest Kenyans living and training sideby side including big names, such as former marathonworld record holder and London marathon winner Wilson Kipsang, Olympic 1,500m champion Asbel Kiprop, world record holder and Olympic 800m champion David Rudisha and many more. Runners from all over the world go there to train – regardless of their target being to go to Olympics or just run for leisure.

Britain’s most successful distance runner Mo Farah revealed in his biography that moving into a house full of Kenyan runners changed his whole attitude to training and racing. The Olympic champion witnessed that they would start their first run before 7am, they would cooksimple food like ugali, a maize flour mix rolled into a doughy lump. After resting, they would train again in the afternoon, eat, rest and go to bed early. For entertainment they would play chess and watch videos of old Olympic races. “Repetition, the right food, recovery, sleeping well and a good environment are the necessary ingredients for success. Kenya offers all of that,” says Aspire Academy Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Barry Shillabeer.

“It’s quite different from Doha, there is no AC and the internet is very slow. But, on the bright side, that makes it easier to focus on training...http://aspire.qa/mag/150418/index.html#4-5

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