Adharanand Finn “A dusty road stretches into the distance like a pencil line across the arid landscape. Lions, rhino, and buffalo roam the plains on either side. But I haven’t come to Kenya to spot wildlife. I’ve come to run.”
Whether running is your recreation, your religion, or just a spectator sport, Adharanand Finn’s incredible journey to the elite training camps of Kenya will captivate and inspire you. Part travelogue, part memoir, this mesmerizing quest to uncover the secrets of the world’s greatest runners - and put them to the test - combines practical advice, a fresh look at barefoot running, and hard-won spiritual insights.
As a boy growing up in the English countryside, Adharanand Finn was a natural runner. While other kids struggled, he breezed through schoolyard races, imagining he was one of his heroes: the Kenyan long-distance runners exploding into prominence as Olympic and world champions. But as he grew up, pursued a career in journalism, married and had children, those childhood dreams slipped away - until suddenly, in his mid-thirties, Finn realized he might have only one chance left to see how far his talents could take him.
Uprooting his family of five, including three small children, Finn traveled to Iten, a small, chaotic town in the Rift Valley province of Kenya - a mecca for long-distance runners thanks to its high altitude, endless running paths, and some of the top training schools in the world. Finn would run side by side with Olympic champions, young hopefuls, and barefoot schoolchildren... not to mention the exotic - and sometimes dangerous - wildlife for which Kenya is famous.
Here, too, he would meet a cast of colorful characters, including his unflappable guide, Godfrey Kiprotich, a former half marathon champion; Christopher Cheboiboch, one of the fastest men ever to run the New York City Marathon; and Japhet, a poor, bucktoothed boy with unsuspected reservoirs of courage and raw speed. Amid the daily challenges of training and of raising a family abroad, Finn would learn invaluable lessons about running - and about life.
Adharanand Finn Welcome to Japan, the most running-obsessed nation on Earth and home to a unique running culture unlike anything Adharanand Finn, author of Running with the Kenyans, has even experienced.
It may come as a surprise to many people, but Japan is the most running-obsessed country on Earth. A 135-mile relay race, or ekiden, is the country's biggest annual sporting event. Thousands of professional runners compete for corporate teams in some of the most competitive races in the world. The legendary "marathon monks" run a thousand marathons in a thousand days to reach spiritual enlightenment. Yet so much of Japan's running culture remains a mystery to the outside world, on par with many of the unique aspects of contemporary Japan.
Adharanand Finn, the award-winning author of Running with the Kenyans, spent six months immersed in this one-of-a-kind running culture to discover what it might teach us about the sport and about Japan. As an amateur runner about to turn 40, he also hoped to find out whether a Japanese approach to training might help him run faster. What he learns - about competition, teamwork, form, chasing personal bests, and himself - will fascinate and surprise anyone keen to explore why we run and how we might do it better.