What Really Makes 4.9M Kalenjins Good Athletes.

PHOTO COURTESY

Asbel Kiprop, the 2008 Olympic 1500M Champion had a unique way of trouncing his fellow competitors.

This is how he did it in the Birmingham Diamond League on 17, July ,2015. The race begins and Asbel Kiprop is competing alongside fellow country men, Biwot, Manangoi, Cheboi and Kivuva.

Unknown to many, Rotich is a pacesetter and drops off from the race at some point. Rotich, sets the pace so high that naive athletes from other countries think, they are competing against him. At this time, Asbel Kiprop is trailing a little behind Kivuva, a fellow Kenyan. As the bell signalling the last lap goes on, Asbel Kiprop sprints faster unleashing the reserved energy, the finishing power and leaves the legends Mo Farah of Ethiopia trailing behind shamelessly. It is a win for Asbel Kiprop and long after he has finished the race, the gentlemen from countries like U .S .A cross the finish line.

Kenya is a country of 42 Ethnic tribes. The Kalenjins occupy the Rift Valley and the sub tribe of Nandi are well known top athletes. At one time scooping a total of 25 gold medals.

This is what makes the 4.9M Kalenjins good athletes.

First, they live in high altitude areas. Approximately 6900-8900 feet above the sea level. This means there is constant lack of oxygen which stimulates the body to produce more red blood cells. You know what this means in long distance races. The second factor, could be genetics. They are arguably the only tribe with thin calves and ankles. Contrary to my brothers from western and Nyanza with thicker Calves. Thin ankles and calves means the body has less weight to carry,resulting in less energy per stride. Again, the barefoot running style gives them an added advantage and so naturally while sprinting, they tend to land on the forefoot.

Lastly, their active lifestyle means they are the best athletes. I have lived with them at Kibomet and those days, I could see them walking 4kms with herds of cattle to cattle dip or for water. You can never get a rural Kalenjin’s kid being ferried to school by a bus like the modern kids. Those guys cover approximately 7.9Kms on a daily basis.

Life is a race. Salvation is a race. The Biblical Apostles like Paul, ran this race and won. Their minds were trained and conditioned to run and win. The places they lived in trained them to run and win. One day all of us will discover that we were all running. Running and winning requires a strategy.

Hebrews 12:1
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the RACE marked out for us”.