03 Oct Iten – Kenya’s Home Of Champions
The undisputed success of Kenyan marathon runners in international meets has repeatedly led their competitors to question the secret behind this continuous winning streak. This has led them to delve into the lives of our runners and this search has invariably led to one place – Iten town.
Located 8,000 feet above sea level in Elegeyo – Marakwet county of Kenya, in The Great Rift Valley between Eldoret and Kabarnet, Iten seems to be a town made for champions.
This high altitude area is a runner’s haven with the perfect conditions to improve on performance and endurance with athletes training in the early hours of the morning in open spaces with long winding red murram roads – quite different from the norm.
It has been the breeding ground of great athletes such as the legendary Kipchoge Keino, Henry Rono and Lorna Kiplagat. International athletic aspirants throng Iten to train for up-coming competitions and several high altitude training camps in Iten are host to world-famous athletes including Britain’s Mo Farah and Paula Radcliff to name but a few.
One of the training camps known for producing Kenya’s top athletes is a High Performance Training camp owned by the Legendary Kenyan star Kipchoge Keino. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has approved the training camp as a high altitude training facility. It boasts high quality accommodation, conference facilities, a modern gymnasium, library, good training ground and well-managed diet all at the disposal of the athletes. Another common figure in Iten’s running tracks is Lorna Kplagat who also operates a camp that specialises in training female athletes, which has also had its share of producing international champion runners.
Those who are not professional runners, however, should not be disheartened – athletics enthusiast can also get to enjoy the scenic environment and get to run with the bigwigs of athletics and kill two birds with one stone. This runner’s paradise is truly the perfect place to push yourself to ever greater heights.