10 Reasons The Kenyans Will Always Be Faster: Part 2
Last time I served up five reasons that the Kenyans will always be faster than you or me. But it takes more than those five reasons to dominate the world. So here are five more to learn from. The only question I have about these amazing runners is: Will the relentless push of the modern world will some day sink the Kenyans? Will they eat junk food? Will the kids quit running around for years? Will some other country get hungrier and work harder?
6. Group training- Kenyans don’t train alone like most endurance athletes. They always train in groups, and feed off each others’ energy. The power of a community devoted to the same project and supporting each other helps everyone.
7. Heroes- By now, Kenya has amassed so many great runners that it is easy for a young runner to look up at a clear path to success. Everything from how to train, to top notch competition is easy for a Kenyan to picture. Quick, name today’s greatest American marathoners? Drawing a blank? Most do. There are not many, and one of them is of Kenyan descent, naturalized, but grew up here. We have football and basketball stars, they have runners.
8. Competition- Can you imagine what it must be like to compete at the national level in Kenya? It must be like the World Championships every single time. Only the fastest survive. If it were not for the rules limiting a country’s entries, the World Championships and the Kenyan Nationals would be the same thing. Out of this crucible comes world class running.
9. Renato Canova- Well, coaching, in general, not just Canova. Seeing the immense potential in East Africa, a number of European coaches have taken to living in a third world, developing country just to train he world’s fastest runners. That is a beautiful thing. With a talent pool as deep as Kenya, new training and coaching techniques can be tested to the maximum level possible. It would be lIke working in Ferrari’s Formula 1 racing division. You do not hold anything back, you figure out the fastest way to get from point A to point B. Nothing else.
10. THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON: DESIRE
They are hungrier than anyone else. I mean that mostly figuratively, as in they want it more, and they do what it takes. They run more. A lot more. Running and racing is a chance to make a life that is very hard to come by in East Africa. They do not mess around, they chase it and wrestle it down or die trying. How many American runners have that simultaneous pressure and motivation? And in many cases, they are literally hungry. Poverty can be a great motivation, and if you have the stride that might win an international marathon or Olympic gold, you chase that with everything you’ve got.