“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 world. 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.
©2012 Adharanand Finn (P)2012 Random House Audio
“Equal parts cultural examination, cult-of-running treatise, and poignant memoir, Running with the Kenyans thrives on a variety of levels. Like the skilled distance runner he is, Finn paces this book marvelously and then saves the best for the final kick. This book packs all the pleasure and satisfaction - and none of the ancillary pain - of a long training run.” (L. Jon Wertheim, senior editor, Sports Illustrated, and co-author of the New York Times best seller Scorecasting)
“Not everyone gets to heaven in their lifetime. Finn tried to run there, and succeeded. Running with the Kenyans is a great read.” (Bernd Heinrich, author of Why We Run)
“If you want to know the secrets of Kenyan runners, and have a rollicking adventure along the way, join Finn in his fascinating tale of what it is to go stride for stride with the fastest people on Earth.” (Neal Bascomb, author of The Perfect Mile)
Depends. If they want to delve directly into learning the Kenyan culture of running to "feel" what it is that makes them great then yes. If they are just looking for facts about what the Kenyans do right then no. The facts can be found elsewhere. This is a story of a guy visiting Kenya to run with the Kenyan's and understand what makes them great. But there really isn't a secret as to what that is. It's a combination of many things and I'm sure there are summaries online that explain everything revealed in this book in a simpler format. Since this is the authors experience in Kenya he tells side stories about his family and what life is like there. Often they aren't relevant to why I choose to read the book and in addition I found them boring. Frequently I found myself screaming in my head, "stop telling me all these meaningless details from your everyday life!". I didn't want to hear about him not getting offered tea when he visited someone. I did get some useful information from Finn's experience though. Since the information was surrounding a real story it may help me remember it in the proper context better. From that perspective the book was a success for me. Being able to see how facts connect to reality is the biggest value I got from this book.
No. He includes too many details of little importance to hold my attention. His story also starts too slow and strays from the central point of the book too much. I'd rather not go through that again.
Sort of. Too slow in my opinion with unnecessarily long pauses. Once he got talking about events it wasn't too bad. Most of all though the voice just didn't match how I imagined the character sounding. I know Finn is British but the narrator sounded like a grandfather too tired to walk rather than an above average marathoner in his 30's. And the English expressions in the tone of the narrator to me sounded awful sometimes. On several occasions at least I recall thinking that the author couldn't have actually used that tone matched to those expressions when he spoke to the Kenyans. I guess i could be wrong but that's what I thought of.
Yes. I'd like to have known more about his work with Runner's World magazine. Was he writing articles for them while he was in Kenya? What were his typical topics? Did he work much in Kenya? What kind of hours and schedules did he work? Did Runner's World pay for any of his travels and running stuff in Kenya? His occupation seems like such a useful piece of information yet Finn left out much of it's influence on his Kenya trip. Surely he was able to move to Kenya partly because Runner's World loved the idea. But he just leaves that whole piece rather empty.
Decent book overall. But it lacked many of the things that make a great book and great narration. I don't regret buying it but wish it were priced less considering it's quality.
This book was a great listen for my long weekend runs. The author explores the topic thoroughly, humorously, and warmly, while avoiding the "look at me, I'm oh so special" vibe that plagues baby-boomer memoirs.
The narrator was pitch-perfect, too.
So, the narrators voice took a little getting used to and the book had a slow start... But once I got into it I couldn't stop listening. It was a very intelligently written book about running and form. It was written from the point of view of a better than average runner, but not quite an elite runner.
A running book matched by no other !
The author takes the reader on a runner tour along with some of the finest athletes on the planet.
The narrator, John Lee is the best! His accents nail the characters and make for a delightful experience !
It's a really great anecdotal account of the concept of why Kenyans are such strong runners. Ever since 'Born to Run' everyone's quick to say that barefoot running is the secret to all fast nationalities. But 'Running with the Kenyans' really looks into the ideologies and dogma of running culture of the country to help people better understand what's at stake for a successful Kenyan runner.
This is a great book. It if filled with wonderful characters who provide inspiration and encouragement. The best element of the book was to expose the Kenyan way of running and the circumstances that illicit that kind of commitment. Listening to this story is time well spent.
A lot of fun traveling along with the story. Relistening just to keep Running with the group.
Visiting the famil homes and running camps.
This was a great read just before the #london2012 olympics, is all fired upp for to watch all the medium and long distance running after listening to this book.
I could this turned into a movie about a european man traveling to Kenya to try to discover the secret behind the Kenyan running sensation for the last 25 years.
Well written and narrated. One of the best running books I've listened to. The author has a good sense of humor. Because of his non-elite status as a runner, you can really put yourself in his shoes.
Inspiring story. Perhaps not as well crafted or engaging as Born to Run, but in the same genre. This will have a more narrow appeal than BTR, however. I don't see many non-runners being interested by the book. The subject is more than worthy of attention and has seemingly been ignored the mainstream sports media -- why are nearly ALL of the top distance runners from Iten, an obscure village in the mountains Kenya?? Their domination of distance running is like nothing the world has seen before. These athletes run speeds that were unimaginable just 15 years ago, and their running form is amazing to behold. Hopefully we'll see more books on this topic in the near future! The only negative is the quirky British narrator, who would be entirely out of place if it weren't for the fact that the author is british. At certain points, his style is almost robotic.
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