Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth

Adharanand Finn. Ballantine, $26 (288p) ISBN 978-0-345-52879-7
In an effort to determine why Kenya consistently produces some of the fastest and most talented runners in the world, Finn packed up his wife and three kids and jetted off to the Kenyan running mecca of Iten to research their techniques, immerse himself in the culture for six months of training, and then run the Lewa Marathon—26 scorching miles across plains populated by elephants, lions, and rhino. Along the way, Finn, a longtime running enthusiast, explores the efficacy of hi-tech, comfortable shoes that allow runners to "hammer the road as hard as [they] want," and tests the virtues of barefoot (or nearly barefoot) running, a method many Kenyan runners have gracefully mastered on account of having grown up without cutting-edge Nikes. In addition to technical issues, the author entertains possible cultural factors behind Kenyans' running prowess, including their diet (many drink mursik, "an unpalatable but potent tonic" of blood and cow's milk), and the fact that running provides some Kenyans with the opportunity to make decent money. Throughout his personal trials, Finn introduces readers to an interesting cast of characters, including Brother Colm O'Connell, the Irish priest and legendary coach from Iten's Catholic boarding school, and charming local runners Japhet and Chris Cheboiboch. Part scientific study, travel memoir, and tale of self-discovery, Finn's journey makes for a smart and entertaining read. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/14/2012
Release date: 05/15/2012
Ebook - 320 pages - 978-0-571-27407-9
Paperback - 277 pages - 978-0-345-52880-3
Compact Disc - 978-0-307-98972-7
Open Ebook - 177 pages - 978-0-345-53352-4
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-571-27405-5
Paperback - 301 pages - 978-0-571-27406-2
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