It’s a warm dusty morning in Iten, Kenya one of the premier running camps in the world even though it’s far from fancy or high tech like an NCAA college lab may look like.
There are hundreds of Kenyans villages arriving for what is a almost a national tradition - a morning run. Among the large group are teachers, construction workers, aid workers, expats from Europe, US and other parts of the world who for some reason or another have landed in this running mecca, all of these people are general population runners or recreational runners who love to run for the many, many benefits to their physical, emotional, and mental health.
There are a few other runners in the large group as well, namely Olympic Marathon Gold Medallist and 2.03.05 marathoner Eliud Kipchoge an athlete who has been one of the world’s best for over a decade is “jogging” and chatting at 5 min per km pace (over 2 min per km slower than his marathon pace) with all the runners at all different abilities about their week, their occupation and their families. It may be a recovery day for Kipchoge of which he throws in a couple times a week, but its Poignant that the greatest distance runner in the world is currently training with and laughing with his fellow athletes who may cover the 42.195km or 26miles, 1, 2 or some 3 hours slower than he, or will never want to cover such distance.
This last sentence sums up everything about sport, running and life in my opinion and was a major driver in me creating the RUNNEZ movement at the beginning of 2007.
Athletes of Kipchoge’s level do all their ‘quality’ work in groups of similar levels, and then they do their easier or longer runs in bigger groups as described above.
My 2 sporting loves are Australian Rules Football and Distance Running I am a massive “running nerd” I love the science and physiology of running as well the psychology, but I LOVE the team aspect, the banter and the comradery of AFL .
Seeing as a RUNNEZ session is very much the athlete’s quality work out of their week It was always going to be hard to coach on the track due to so many varying abilities, so I brought it indoors and have never looked back, having coached 1000’s of great people of so many different abilities in so many walks of life. All improve if consistent, and the consistency is so much easier due to the fact they have teammates and a coach. These general population athletes who work full or part time or raise a family, they need a coach and team mates more then the elites like Kipchoge due to the fact that being so busy often they put themselves and their own goals last, a coach and team mates of all different abilities and ambitions keep these busy individuals focused and accountable and once in the routine it so great to see people flourish and continue to improve, and take their bodies to athletic places they never thought possible.
It’s fantastic to see a 12 year old who may have mum or dad on their left and 75 year old on their right all running at significantly different speeds but the same effort level, all present for different reasons and all having a bloody great time!!
If you are wanting to begin a fitness or sporting journey please don’t wait !! And never think you’re not good enough or not fit enough, because it’s simply not true, join a team and find a coach that are there for you !
You will never look back Rick Mirabella