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Running with Kenyans: Discovering the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth    by Adharanand Finn order for
Running with Kenyans
by Adharanand Finn
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2013 (2012)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Journalist Adharanand Finn's Running with Kenyans: Discovering the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth is a fascinating mix of sports analysis and travel memoir. Finn is himself a long-distance runner, who took his young family to Kenya to participate in the country's elite training camps and investigate what made Kenyans 'quite simply, the greatest runners on Earth.'

Finn tells us that 'In 2011 the top twenty fastest marathons of the year were all run by Kenyans. And of the top twenty fastest marathons of all time, seventeen were run by Kenyans' (the other three by Ethiopians). So, after Finn experiments a little with barefoot running, he and his wife pack up the family and head to Nairobi. They settle in Iten, up the Rift Valley, where top athletes live and train.

Finn shares his training with other athletes as he prepares for the Lewa Marathon. He forms a team to train together, and tells us the rags to riches stories of many of the Kenyan runners he meets. He learns a lot from them, including the importance of adequate rest and sleep. In Kenya, 'athletics is like a religion ... people are running to change their lives.' All the great runners come from a poor, rural background.

Does Finn eventually discover the secret of Kenyan runners' success? There are many factors but it seems that perhaps the most significant is 'The hunger to succeed' in a 'land of runners.' Running with Kenyans is an intriguing and inspiring read.

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