In 1964, a Kenyan athlete, Wilson Chumo, won Kenya’s first medal ever, a bronze, in the Olympics event held in Tokyo. This historic win was no mean feat. Chumo was not only the first Kenyan, but also the first African athlete to win an Olympic medal of any kind in a track event.
His victory marked a significant moment in Kenyan sports history. It laid the foundation for the country’s subsequent dominance in long-distance and middle-distance running disciplines, a journey that began and never stopped.
Today, Kenya is revered globally for its well-earned fame as being the home of champions. This year alone, the 29-year-old, Faith Kipyegon broke two world records in the same week! She became the second woman in history to hold both the 1500 m and 5000 m world records simultaneously.
At Kendirita, our experience in the tours and travel industry has supplied us with unique opportunities to showcase the pride and joy of Kenya’s athletics. In this blog post, we take a closer look at this legacy and what to expect when you visit.
The Legendary Rift Valley
Whether by chance, luck, or divinity, Kenya is bestowed with the Great Rift Valley running across the country from north to south. The Rift Valley’s high-altitude locations, such as Eldoret and Iten, are situated at elevations of around 7,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level, a favorite training ground for our athletes.
Training at high altitudes stimulates the production of red blood cells, enhancing athletes’ oxygen-carrying capacity and endurance. The thinner air at these altitudes challenges the athletes’ cardiovascular systems, allowing them to adapt and ultimately perform better in competitions at sea level.
A road trip along the Eldoret-Kabarnet Road through Iten instantly reminds you of our athletes’ enduring stamina. It is common to see two or more of them training together in the early hours of the day, sometimes in the scorching sun, usually with a fitness coach in tow.
Training with Champions
Kenya’s generosity runs as deep in the community as it does on the tracks. Our athletes share their prowess and expertise with marathoners from all over the world.
At Kendirita, we recognize that sometimes, you simply have to learn from the best, in sports more so. Training in the same environment as some of the world’s most celebrated runners can be incredibly inspiring.
The dedication, work ethic, and determination of these champions are palpable, motivating you to push your limits and embrace a higher level of commitment to your training.
We organize safari excursions to the Rift Valley highlands of Kericho, Nandi Hills, Eldoret, and Iten throughout the year. For a training expedition, our clients have the option to contact Athletics Kenya directly or ask us to put them in touch with the organization.
These safaris often pay off. Our clients have reported learning insights into training techniques, race strategies, nutrition, and recovery methods that have propelled our legends to success.
Kenya hosts several top-notch marathons that attract participants from around the world. If you are an athlete, or if you have been planning to run a marathon as a personal goal, then Kenya is the place to be.
Training for, competing in, and completing a marathon is a huge achievement. And it should be celebrated as such. What would make your trip to Kenya more enticing is the fact that we can combine your wildlife safari to the Mara as a treat for achieving an incredible milestone on the tracks.
Here are some of our best annual marathons:
- Safaricom Marathon – Lewa Wildlife Conservancy: Held in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, this marathon combines the thrill of running with the beauty of Kenya’s wildlife. Participants run through breathtaking savannahs, alongside rhinos and elephants, all while supporting conservation efforts.
- Standard Chartered Nairobi Marathon: As one of Kenya’s most prestigious marathons, this race attracts elite runners and enthusiasts alike. The course takes participants through the heart of Nairobi, showcasing the city’s vibrant neighborhoods and iconic landmarks.
- The Mater Heart Run: An annual charitable event with the primary goal of raising funds to support children suffering from heart conditions. The race typically takes place in multiple locations across the country on the same day. These locations often include major cities, towns, and even rural areas, allowing a wide range of people to participate and contribute to the cause.
As we have established, the Kenyan athletic legacy is embedded in the very fabric of this country. Our prowess in the field could only be rivaled by our commitment to community and our desire to help one another.
If you are looking for an opportunity to train with champions, run a marathon, or find a way to give to charity, you should call us. We are your preferred travel experts and your gateway to the home of champions.
Writer: Winnie Wekesa