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A Rite Of Passage Run For Young Kenyan Hopefuls

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jun. 7, 2011
The Kings of the Hill in Kenya. Photo: Guardian

The Kings of the Hill in Kenya. Photo: Guardian

The course is 21 kilometers of pure hill.

Guardian correspondent Adharanand Finn has been over in Kenya and Ethiopia over the past year reporting on what it’s like to be a competitive East African runner. Recently, he wrote about the Fluorspar run, a grueling 21K course that takes runners 4000ft straight up.

Finn calls the run a “rite of passage” for up-and-coming Kenyans. “Most of the athletes here have done it at least once and like to compare best times. The record is apparently 1 hour 23 minutes,” he writes.

Finn himself takes part in the run, which begins at the Fluorspar mineral mine.

“Up and up, back and forth goes the road, rising above the cone-shaped hills into the cooler air, where the clouds cling to the chiselled rock face that holds back the highlands,” Finn recalls. “Finally, with one last push, I reach the top.”

That day he covered the course in 1:58. The Kenyans say anyone who can complete it under two hours is “very strong.”

For More: The Guardian

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at Competitor.com and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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