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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

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

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His Curiosity is Contagious

My review might make you think Running With Kenyans was written for kids--if you don't have kids don't worry--the book is not a children's book. So please read on.

My son is a natural athlete loving all sports and in particular, he is an extraordinarily fast runner. He also is not a child who cares at all about Harry Potter. So mix those two things together and you have a mom trying to find a decent audio book on sports that is okay for an 8 year old, yet not poorly written (which many of the chapter books are--sorry but it's true). Somehow I got to Running With Kenyans in my search and I am very happy I did. Every night I read to the kids myself then put on an audio book for them to fall asleep. We also listen to audio books in the car sometimes. This book is read perfectly. The narration is top notch. The story unfolds slowly, and with an easy rhythm like that of the running he describes. I simply love his story and the way he told it and the way, in the end, John Lee narrrated it. I would end up lying down with kids and not leaving the room because I had to keep listening.

Usually when people say "a page turner" they mean intrigue and tension galore. With this book I wanted to hear what happened next but not in a stressful urgent way but because Adharanand's writing makes you feel like you are there with him. And that's a nice feeling. Like when you don't want to leave vacation. His curiosity is contagious and his self-reflection humorous and honest.

We have now listened to this book, frankly, if I say a number I am guessing. 5 times? When we've had a hard night, or life seems scary, my son picks this book over all others in our Audible for the soothing tale of learning how the Kenyans run, the people and this father, Adharanand Finn, on his own journey.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A must for runners

Well done...interesting research into why Kenyan runners are so dominant in the U.S. and olympics. Perhaps could have gone a bit deeper into the Kenyan youth and how they are groomed. A pretty cool tale of a whitey making his way around Kenya - an experience all to itself, and not in a bad way. I was there in 1977 and am white, we simply stick out. But, the Kenyan people are inquisitive and hold none of the prejudices we Americans seem to have. Note: This book is not about white and black, the author is clearly colorblind. He keeps almost entirely to his quest to race and train with the Kenyans and the stories of the running races is fascinating.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A must for runners

Would you listen to Running with the Kenyans again? Why?

I enjoyed all aspects of this book! The technical details around running form and gear, the social aspects of western versus African runners and Finn's journey make the entire book worth a second listen.

What did you like best about this story?

As a runner I cannot say any one thing hit me as the best thing about the book. I took different things away from it and even generated conversation with friend (runners and non-runners) based on the information.

What does John Lee bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

John Lee is excellent at expressing what the author is trying to convey. I often found myself thinking of John Lee's voice as Finn's. I am sure the next book I listen to featuring John Lee will take some time re-adjust to him NOT being Finn.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Run like a Kenyan

I love this book maybe its because of the journey I took this year to reach the goal that Finn had to run a sub 3 marathon. But where his journey ends in NY City Marathon mine started there. Listening to his story was inspiring and moving. To me the Kenyans are the ones I look up to because they do so well with practically nothing. If your a runner I highly recommend this book. Rest assured I will read this book again when I run NY again next year. I couldn't help but root for Finn and I thank him for writing such a great book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Rehash of Born to Run

What would have made Running with the Kenyans better?

New information on running science or something...anything new or new perspective.

What was most disappointing about Adharanand Finn’s story?

It didn't inspire me to run any differently or to increase my mileage.

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

John Lee is an excellent narrator, I will definitely look for more of his work.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

This book is a rehash of the barefoot / minimalist running debate. I was quickly bored and tried to stick it through to the end, because I really dislike Finn, but I gave up about 3/4 of the way through. I just quit caring about what kind of minimalist shoes and what kind of run he had.

Any additional comments?

Finn sounds like the kind of guy you want to meet, sit and talk to, go running with. His wife sounds like the most long suffering saintly woman on the planet. I hope he let her pick their next long 'vacation' after their Kenya experiment. And a nanny. And a housekeeper and cook. She and their children put up with a lot so he could go off on his adventure, I'm not entirely sure I could have been as supportive and patient as she was.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great read!

I really enjoyed this book. It provides readers with a glimpse of how the greatest runners in the world live, eat and train.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Worth the read

Boring at times, but well worth it in the end. Only for runners, not running folks will find the book boring.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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so that's how they keep winning

Lively story about how a white guy moves to Africa to learn the ingredients of Kenyan running success. What makes this book especially interesting is that Finn actually lived and trained with the Kenyans. A terrific recap of his experiences as a vegetarian training for a marathon.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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decent story to listen to while running

listemed to this while running. nice story. No great secrets. nice characters and descriptions.

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No secrets, but still a pleasant jog

This book won't make you a faster runner, but it will give insight into the most thriving running culture on the planet. A pleasant read for running enthusiasts to bring with them on those long runs.