Wilson Kipsang and other Kenya’s running legends share their secrets to success

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In Why We Run, Al Jazeera Correspondent Andy Richardson explores why Kenya’s runners excel in endurance running – and why so many humans love the sport.

Kenya’s legends of running have shed light on what motivates them to run, and why so many Kenyans are achieving success in the sport.

Four of the five fastest ever marathons have been run by Kenyans. Current marathon world record holder Wilson Kipsang is the latest addition to this statistic. He explains his success to running enthusiast and Al Jazeera correspondent Andy Richardson: “What gives you power, the courage and faith that you can really do something in a race, is how you have really trained.”

Kenyan-born, former cross country champion Lornah Kiplagat echoes this belief: “I knew if I train hard I will win easy. So that was my motivation. Train hard and then the competition is just having fun.”

However, Kiplagat also adds she has a natural compulsion to run. “I can’t imagine a day without running. I hear people are addicted to coffee…but me, I’m addicted to running.”

Fun is not a major motivator for many Kenyans, however. Economic factors make running a viable career for Kenyans. Why We Run visits the small town of Iten, where a new generation of Kenyan runners are looking to follow in the footsteps of the many legends that grew up here. World and Olympic champion David Rudisha explains: “Most of the motivation comes from the people who have been there before them. They are living good lives; they are driving good cars.”

Andy Richardson’s journey to Kenya is part of his exploration into running and his own preparation to run his first marathon in the Antarctic. Follow Andy Richardson’s marathon journey in Why We Run, airing 12 December at 20.00 GMT on Al Jazeera English. Tweet your questions to Andy (@AndyR_Sport) during the premiere using #whywerun.

 

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