News : The curious loneliness of Kenyan athletes


News : The curious loneliness of Kenyan athletes

Kosgei, world marathon record holder / Instagram

It is common when images come from Kenya, of that poster that presides over the Iten ‘training camp’ where Eliud Kipchoge trains (‘Home of the Champions’), see groups of 10, 20, 30 or even more runners training together, doing massive long runs. The world record holder himself has a large training group and, for example, one of his running and series companions is another world ‘record holder’, Geoffrey Kamworor, who by the way suffered a run-over this summer from which he is recovering and prevented him participate in the Gdynia World Half Marathon. Well, those ‘hordes’ of dozens of athletes traveling those dirt roads so characteristic of the height of this Kenyan region are a bit one of the essences, one of the signs.

The grupetas

But what we are not so used to seeing are groups of girls training in large groups. There are many Kenyan athletes among the best in the world when it comes to the background. Without going any further, the world marathon record holder Brigid Kosgei. But wow, Jepkosgei, Wanjiru, Chelimo… we could say a lot. Chatting with Totti Corbalán in the Corridor Stock Exchange recently to assess how his athletes from the Ikaika group arrive at the Valencia Marathon, the Spanish coach based in Kenya told us that it is very strange to see groups of female athletes running in peloton in an image that is very usual in men. But why?

Very competitive

“When there is competition, obviously the whole team is together in the hotel and in the days before, but in Kenya, in Iten, even in Nairobi, it’s different. Sometimes they go alone, other times they are two. It is very difficult in Kenya to see a group of girls run together. They usually go alone with their hares, it is the most typical“, Corbalán tells us. “Why? Well, it’s hard for me to explain it, really, but that’s the way it is, it’s what we see every day. The ‘easy runs’ for example, which may be done leaving from home. The normal thing is that the hares wait for them outside and start. I imagine it is because they feel more comfortable going alone, at their own pace; they are more competitive among themselves ”.

“On the track, perhaps they can train in larger groups to get tight, but even there you see them alone too,” Totti clarifies. Without a doubt, a curious phenomenon …


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