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Kenyan runners: how to train with the best in the world

Known as incredible runners the world over, a unique training camp in Austria is working behind the scenes to fund many of the races of Kenya’s superstars – and giving “everyday” runners the chance to train with, and be trained by, these Kenyan legends.

Last week at the Zurich marathon, all three of the men’s winners were Kenyan runners. Two of those that topped the podium – the race winner Vincent Tonui and third place getter Samuel Karani – are members of the Kenyan running team run2gether (of which On is a major sponsor and supporter) and both have trained hundreds of everyday runners through unique running camps in Europe.

 


 

For many, Kenya is held up as the ultimate running destination. The high altitude, warm climate, groups-running-style and practice of eating from the land all contributing factors as to why it produces some of the very best long-distance runners in the world. However for most Kenya is a tricky destination to reach, which is why since 2008 team run2gether has brought authentic-style running and training camps to the heart of Europe – largely through volunteer networks.

 

During spring and summer, many of the members of the Kenyan team come to heights of Austria (while training for their personal race-schedules) to work as coaches and trainers in week long camps that immersed people in the life, food and running culture of Kenya. These camps are used by Team run2gether to fund their season and pay predominantly for race entries, supplies and travel to get these runners – many of whom are multi-marathon champions – to their events around the world.    

Training in the Kenyan highlands

We talked with Thomas Krejci – one of the founding members of the initiative and training program about the unique set-up of the camps and what it could bring people.

When it boils down to it, there are three things that people generally take away from the week.

These are: appreciation for simple, nutrient-rich food, cooked in the traditional Kenyan style. Team spirit, as when you are running and being coached by some of the best Kenyan runners in the world: eating with them, running with them, learning about their culture with them, you learn to think about the run as a group activity, with each person having something to offer everyone else as a whole. Simply a new found passion for running, with new insights, learnings and mentality that stay with you every time you hit the track well after the camp has come to an end." 

 

Head to the run2gether camp website here.

 

Team run2gether – just like the name says – is all about an “in it together” mentality, with runners often happy to get by on little for others in the group to be given a chance to compete and perform. Being around these runners, you constantly see pure examples of athlete altruism almost daily”, says Thomas. “At the end of the day, one thing is always clear from these incredible Kenyans you meet and train with: they love to run, love to inspire others to run, and are hugely appreciative to have this chance to do what they love every single day. That’s what often differentiates Kenyan runners from being just “good” to being truly great.”

 


 

Spots in the camps are still available, however limited, for all levels and kinds of runners – from professional to casual. Find out more about the camp here, and a reminder: all profits go to the Kenyan runners and their racing endeavours.