Footprints Kenya

Kenyan Runner Abel Kirui training (centre, wearing black top).  Photograph appears courtesy of <a href='http://www.letsrun.com/photos/2012/dayinlife/imagepages/image9.php'> Let's Run </a>

Kenyan Runner Abel Kirui training (centre, wearing black top). Photograph appears courtesy of Let's Run

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An ongoing annual series about the connection between Sport and Society, "Footprints 2012" takes IDEAS host Paul Kennedy to the Great Rift Valley, in Kenya. He spends time in the training camp for distance runners that may produce pots of gold at this summer's London Olympics.

They weren't necessarily faster than antelopes or gazelles, especially over short distances. But they could last longer, and thus outrun their dinner, which proved to be an important evolutionary advantage.

The upper end of the Great Rift Valley is also situated about 2,200 metres above sea level. This facilitates what running coaches now call training "at altitude", which is another explanation for the relatively recent success of Kenyan distance runners.


Participants in the program: Kathrine Switzer, Roger Robinson, and Myles Edwards.



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