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Running with the Kenyans Audiobook

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

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Publisher's Summary

“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

What the Critics Say

“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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (299 )
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4.3 (267 )
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Performance
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  •  
    thomas charlotte, NC, United States 01-26-15
    thomas charlotte, NC, United States 01-26-15 Member Since 2012

    I focus mainly on History, Endurance Sports and Science/Speculative Fiction books.

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    "One of the Best Running Books!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    it was great. John Lee, who I have listened to many times in the Peter Hamilton series really brings Finn to life. the accents and attitudes of the African runners made me feel like I knew them. Amazing. In many ways this book is less of a running book and more of a travel book. It gets you close to another culture and does so in a non-judgmental way based on curiosity. I was sad to see it end.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Running with the Kenyans?

    Each part was interesting, I found the sections where Finn was just trying to figure out what was going on as he settled into the village of Etan fascinating. These are gentle, quiet giving, people and although Finn brought his Western sensibilities with him, he integrated into the Kenyan way of life and way of thinking in a remarkable way.


    Which character – as performed by John Lee – was your favorite?

    Honestly his running partners. Found these people to be very happy, without having or wanting many possessions. It came out in the characterizations and interpretation by Lee. But Finn is the most intriguing of all, his curiosity is infectious.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No I rarely do that...


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recommend to any runner especially if you like Born to Run. I would also recommend it to any emerging athlete, or traveler. Just a great, simple, heartwarming book.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan United States 01-20-14
    Ryan United States 01-20-14 Member Since 2012

    Life is a journey, enjoy it......because one day it will all end.

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    "A good book for a running story"
    Would you listen to Running with the Kenyans again? Why?

    Maybe. I have listened to Born to Run 3 times. I like to listen to running book while I am out for my long runs. This one was a good story of running with Kenyan runners in their culture but not insperational. The tempo of the book was a bit slower and did not speak to me like a few other books. There was good vivid detail in the book which allowd me to see the book in my head while I ran.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sean COLUMBIA, MD, United States 08-02-13
    Sean COLUMBIA, MD, United States 08-02-13
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    "Educational first hand account"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    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.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Adharanand Finn? Why or why not?

    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.


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    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.


    What else would you have wanted to know about Adharanand Finn’s life?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LebowskiToes Raleigh, NC, United States 05-20-13
    LebowskiToes Raleigh, NC, United States 05-20-13
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    "Well Done"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA, United States 05-12-13
    John HUNTINGTON BEACH, CALIFORNIA, United States 05-12-13
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    "Excellent running story"
    What made the experience of listening to Running with the Kenyans the most enjoyable?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jill 03-04-13
    Jill 03-04-13
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    "I actually was Running with the Kenyans"

    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 !

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Travis MANASSAS, VA, United States 11-28-12
    Travis MANASSAS, VA, United States 11-28-12 Member Since 2016
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    "Worth a Listen"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Stacy 08-06-12
    Stacy 08-06-12
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    "Great Story and Analysis"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Donna United States 08-01-12
    Donna United States 08-01-12 Member Since 2011
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    "Very inspiring-Uped my milage just listening."
    Would you listen to Running with the Kenyans again? Why?

    A lot of fun traveling along with the story. Relistening just to keep Running with the group.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Running with the Kenyans?

    Visiting the famil homes and running camps.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Fredrik Bjuv, Sweden 07-23-12
    Fredrik Bjuv, Sweden 07-23-12
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    "Great listen"
    What did you love best about Running with the Kenyans?

    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. <br/><br/>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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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