« Au cours de cette plongée dans l'ultra, j'ai appris qu'il est presque impossible de savoir ce qui nous pousse à faire ce sport de dingues. Bien sûr, on veut gagner, on veut finir, on veut faire de notre mieux, on veut trouver ses limites, on veut que nos proches soient fiers de nous... Tout ça est vrai, mais ça n'explique pas grand-chose. Ce qui nous anime, c'est un besoin irrépressible, un désir profond et primitif d'aller braver la mort et d'en revenir. » Adharanand Finn, auteur d'une enquête remarquée sur les marathoniens kényans, court son premier trail pour un reportage. Deux ans plus tard, il est au départ du mythique UTMB. En chemin, il aura rencontré les plus grands champions de la course d'endurance, explorant les motivations de ces passionnés... et surtout les siennes.
Sunday Times Sports Book of the YearShortlisted for the William Hill Sports Book of the Year AwardWinner - Best New Writer at the British Sports Book AwardsAfter years of watching Kenyan athletes win the world's biggest races, from the Olympics to big city marathons, Runner's World contributor Adharanand Finn set out to discover just what it was that made them so fast - and to see if he could keep up.Packing up his family (and his running shoes), he moved from Devon to the small town of Iten, in Kenya, home to hundreds of the country's best athletes. Once there he laced up his shoes and ventured out onto the dirt tracks, running side by side with Olympic champions, young hopefuls and barefoot schoolchildren. He ate their food, slept in their training camps, interviewed their coaches, and his children went to their schools. And at the end of it all, there was his dream, to join the best of the Kenyan athletes in his first marathon, an epic race through lion country across the Kenyan plains.
“A dusty road stretches into the distance like a pencil line across the arid landscape. Lions, rhino, and buffalo roam the plains on either side. But I haven’t come to Kenya to spot wildlife. I’ve come to run.”
Whether running is your recreation, your religion, or just a spectator sport, Adharanand Finn’s incredible journey to the elite training camps of Kenya will captivate and inspire you. Part travelogue, part memoir, this mesmerizing quest to uncover the secrets of the world’s greatest runners--and put them to the test--combines practical advice, a fresh look at barefoot running, and hard-won spiritual insights.
As a boy growing up in the English countryside, Adharanand Finn was a natural runner. While other kids struggled, he breezed through schoolyard races, imagining he was one of his heroes: the Kenyan long-distance runners exploding into prominence as Olympic and world champions. But as he grew up, pursued a career in journalism, married and had children, those childhood dreams slipped away--until suddenly, in his mid-thirties, Finn realized he might have only one chance left to see how far his talents could take him.
Uprooting his family of five, including three small children, Finn traveled to Iten, a small, chaotic town in the Rift Valley province of Kenya--a mecca for long-distance runners thanks to its high altitude, endless running paths, and some of the top training schools in the wold. Finn would run side by side with Olympic champions, young hopefuls, and barefoot schoolchildren . . . not to mention the exotic--and sometimes dangerous--wildlife for which Kenya is famous.
Here, too, he would meet a cast of colorful characters, including his unflappable guide, Godfrey Kiprotich, a former half marathon champion; Christopher Cheboiboch, one of the fastest men ever to run the New York City Marathon; and Japhet, a poor, bucktoothed boy with unsuspected reservoirs of courage and raw speed. Amid the daily challenges of training and of raising a family abroad, Finn would learn invaluable lessons about running--and about life.
Running with the Kenyans is more than one man’s pursuit of a lifelong dream. It’s a fascinating portrait of a magical country--and an extraordinary people seemingly born to run.
Welcome to Japan, the most running-obsessed nation on earth, where: a long-distance relay race is the country's biggest annual sporting event; companies sponsor their own running teams, paying the athletes like employees; and marathon monks run a thousand marathons in a thousand days to reach spiritual enlightenment.Adharanand Finn - award-winning author of Running with the Kenyans - moved to Japan to discover more about this unique running culture and what it might teach us about the sport and about Japan. As an amateur runner about to turn forty, he also hoped find out whether the Japanese approach to training might help him keep improving. What he learned - about competition, about team work, about beating your personal bests, about form and about himself - will fascinate anyone who is keen to explore why we run, and how we might do it better.