The Myths And Dreams Of Kenyan Runners

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Mar. 1, 2012
  • Updated Feb. 19, 2013 at 8:46 AM UTC
Kenyans prefer to run with shoes. Photo: Getty Images

One Italian coach shares what he’s learned in the East African nation.

The National Post recently sat down with Gianni Demadonna, and Italian endurance coach who spends most of his time in Kenya, to pick his brain about the world’s fastest group of runners.

Not surprisingly, Demadonna says Kenyans don’t want to be associated with barefoot running.

“After their first races, the ones where they run without shoes because they have no possibility to buy them, whenever they have the possibility of a contract with a shoe company, they immediately start running with shoes,” says.

Demadonna also states that African runners train hard and can recover fast.

“They live a very hard style of life, but this can be helpful for a runner — it allows them to work harder when they train,” he contends. Demadonna thinks the Africans run so well in part to escape poverty. “To be born in a poor family, as most of the best African runners are, and to see some of the runners win the Olympic Games or the World Championships motivates a lot of the young generation,” he says. “Money is a consequence — and the money can change their life.”

For More: National Post


Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at 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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