Kenya: Iten, home of champion runners

The town has gained global recognition as some of the world's top runners sprung from Iten, giving it the nickname ‘Home of Champions’.
Kenya: Iten, home of champion runners

The World Athletics Indoor Championships begin this weekend in Glasgow, with the Olympic Games taking place this summer.

For years, Kenyans have dominated long-distance running championships. Iten, a town, home to 42,000 residents in Elgeyo-Marakwet, northwest of the county of Kenya, has become an incubator for sports champions also called ‘Home of Champions’.

Star runners training in Iten include Abel Kirui, a two-time marathon champion and Olympic gold medalist, and Eliud Kipchogei, the only man to complete a marathon in less than two hours.

Athletes from all over the world travel to Iten, hoping to gain some of their sporting secrets. Every week, dozens of athletes train at 2,400M altitude on top Kenyan plateaus.

Iten's hidden weapon is its altitude: jogging at this elevation increases the number of red blood cells, which increases the amount of oxygen in the body. This indicates that when runners are on lower ground, their performance improves.

Aside from that, Kenya has a long history of greatness and a strong sporting culture.

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Kenya: Iten, home of champion runners


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