Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Weekend Reading: Running with the Kenyans

It's been way too long since I've written a book review. Recently, I reorganized my book shelves by category, and found I'd read about fifteen running books I've failed to review.

"Running with the Kenyans" was the most recent. Written by Adharanand Finn, a journalist for The Guardian, "Running with the Kenyans" asks and answers the question, "what makes the Kenyans so good?"

Finn starts this part memoir, part study in Kenyan running culture with his own running journey. His runs, races, and fitness lead him to Iten--home of some of the greatest middle distance and distance runners in the world. Finn bumps shoulders with elite running coaches, athletes, and unknown Kenyan runners who could show up to any number of road races in the United States and win.

Finn helps put together a "team" of runners to run the Lewa Marathon--a difficult, hilly course in Kenya. Finn is chasing a fast time. The Kenyans he trains with race to change their families' lives.

Finn does a nice job of balancing his family's perspective of Kenyan culture in Iten with the various Kenyans he meets. Avid runners will recognize the names of some prominent runners and running coaches, but even non-runners will enjoy the descriptions of Kenya's "running culture."

If you've ever asked or been asked, "why are the Kenyans so good at running?" then you should read this book. I won't give away the answer, but if you're a thoughtful person you've probably already come to your own conclusions. If you really want to know, I'll leave a comment below on my takeaway from why the Kenyans are so good.

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