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Running with the Kenyans By Adharanand Finn

Release date: 05th April, 2012
Publisher: Faber & Faber

List Price: £14.99
Our Price: £8.84
You Save: £6.15 (41%)
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Anecdotal evidence suggests that our parks and streets have a slightly greater concentration of runners than they did say, 12 months ago. This has nothing to do with the forthcoming Olympic circus and everything to do with money - or a lack of it. Gym memberships can be expensive; running around the park costs nothing.

It's also fair to say that our parks and pavements are being pounded by the rump of 'New Year Resolutionists' who took the pledge to 'get fit' in January and are now well on their way to becoming lifelong runners.

However long their association with smelly trainers and sweaty t-shirts, existing and newly-converted runners, as well as sports fans who have ever enjoyed the natural grace employed by Kenyan athletes, will appreciate this engrossing tale of a journalist who decamps (with his wife and three young children) from Devon to Kenya in an attempt to discover what makes Kenyan athletes run so beautifully.

But aside from Finn's quest to unearth the secrets of Kenyan elegance when they're on the running track, he also endeavours to improve his own athletic performance. Setting both pursuits against a backdrop where life changes dramatically for the Finn family, albeit for just six months, makes for an utterly compelling memoir.

Finn is particularly good when it comes to exploring why we run. Our motives are driven by a variety of reasons, he maintains, but once we're converted and become used to tired knees, aches and pains, it can become obsessional.

His description of life in Iten, Kenya, adds a homely dimension to the book as the Finn family become used to local food and customs as the author experiences the unique difficulties of running at altitude as he prepares for a marathon.

The title may put some readers off even opening this book, but they would be missing out on a completely different (and welcome) type of sporting tome: a candid, well-written, warts-and-all appraisal of another culture and an explanation of why Kenyans are such accomplished runners.


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