Book review: Running With The Kenyans by Adharanand Finn

Running With the Kenyans
Running With the Kenyans

There are quite a few ‘must read’ running books. If you ask any runner what books they would recommend Born to Run, Eat & Run.  These come out near the top of most people’s lists; and so does Adharanand Finn’s Running With The Kenyans. Annoyingly for me I bought the book from Amazon last year and then promptly misplaced it. I’d refuse to buy another copy until Des Tinney asked me if I wanted to borrow his. Two days after getting Des’s copy I found mine. That is the law enacted by Sod in action right there.

But what about the book? Well, Finn is a writer with a national newspaper and gets a commission to write about why Kenyans make such great distance runners. With such a Bohemian name it comes a no surprise that he decides the best way to do this is to live in Iten, the world capital of distance running. There are literally hundreds of Kenyans in Iten with better PBs over the marathon distance than the current UK male number 1.

Finn ingratiates himself into the local community in order to find what the Kenyans’ secrets are. But it is not that simple.

Alongside his desire to get the inside track on Kenya’s greatest runners and their secrets, Finn is embarking on his first marathon. To help motivate himself, which coincidentally brings an interesting narrative to his book, Finn also creates a running team to do a big race. It works.

During the book we meet Geoffrey Mutai, Mary Keitany, Wilson Kipsang and many more. The book is absolutely genuine and as much a study of why we run as well as why the Kenyans do it best over distance. A great book for any runner, but especially if you like it over the 26.2 mile distance.



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