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World-Class Runners Flock To Kenyan Town

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Jan. 31, 2012
  • Updated Jan. 31, 2012 at 10:48 AM UTC

Iten is the place to be.

If you are worth your salt as an elite distance runner, then you have to visit Iten, Kenya. The small town approximately 350 kilometers north of Nairobi is the home to some of the best marathoners in the world. It sits 2,400 meters above sea level. One example of a world-class runner from there is Lornah Kiplagat. She and her husband Pieter founded the High Altitude Training Center in Iten after realizing the town’s benefits to runners.

“The altitude here is sort of like perfect,” she says. “It’s not too high. It’s not too low. The weather is never hot, it’s warm. But there’s always a breeze, there’s a breeze always. There is everything that you need. There is the gym, there is the pool, the food is good, the nature. So all these things combined, definitely has made it the best place to be in the world.”

One of the foreign athletes giving Iten a spin is Swedish runner Charlotte Schonbeck.

“When I came home last time, from high altitude training, the first few days, it felt like I was running on pink clouds,” she recalled.  ”It was just soft and easy to run at home. So that’s the effect I want to feel when I get home next week.”

For More: Voice of America

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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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