Posted on: April 20, 2015

Hard training behind Kenya's cross country success: Official

By Supriyo Das

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Hard training behind Kenya's cross country success: Official

Nairobi, April 20 (IANS) Kenya's domination at the 41st World Cross Country Championships in Guiyang, China, was proof of the benefits of hard training, a Kenyan athletics official has said.

Barnabas Korir, Athletics Kenya Nairobi Branch chairman, said on Sunday that the feat is testimony that hard training and discipline are still the prime factors for success in athletics and shames the drug cheats, reports Xinhua.

"Before the team departed for Guiyang, the runners were put in a high-altitude residential camp in Kigari in central Kenya where they trained under seasoned coaches," the chairman said.

Kenya bagged the senior men's and women's titles during the biennial event. In the past three decades, runners from Kenya have dominated long-distance running in all facets, including cross-country, track, and the marathon.

In the world rankings for marathon running, it is not uncommon for Kenyans to sometimes majority of the top 10 spots for men and women.

"There are a number of factors that all work together to make Kenyan runners the best of the best," said Korir.

He said rigorous training regimens, the physical geography of the country, support of the athletes and early participation of children are some of the factors why Kenyan runners are by far the best long distance runners in the world.

The physical geography in which the Kenyans train in the Rift Valley offers great elevation and thinning of the air as one get to higher and higher altitudes, which makes it more difficult to breathe, especially while running.

This causes the body to adapt to the condition by manufacturing more red blood cells to accommodate the deficit, which favours the athletes during competitions. It is in this environment that the Kenyan runners perform their gruelling training regimen.

The young Kenyans get involved in running at an early age. Any child can start running, and it does not cost any money, except maybe for shoes, which aren't necessarily needed either.

The exact reason that makes Kenyan runners so superior in the world of long-distance running may never be known, but there are many interesting factors that, when put together, offer a pretty clear picture as to the dominance of these runners.

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