Why do Kenyan athletes dominate in long-distance races?

Kenyan athletes have a reputation for performing well internationally, particularly in long-distance running events such as the marathon and the steeplechase. There are several factors that have contributed to the success of Kenyan athletes


Kenya is a high-altitude country, with many training camps located above 2,000 meters. The high altitude improves the body’s ability to produce red blood cells, which increases oxygen-carrying capacity and improves endurance.

Cultural tradition

Running is a cultural tradition in Kenya, with many children growing up running to and from school, and participating in local running competitions. This means that many Kenyans have a natural talent for running and a strong passion for the sport.

Training methods

Kenyan runners are known for their high-volume, high-intensity training. They often run more than 150 miles per week, with many of those miles at a fast pace.


Kenyan runners are often coached by former Kenyan runners who understand the specific demands of the sport and the conditions in which the athletes train.

Strong support system

Many Kenyan runners come from poor backgrounds, but they have a strong support system of coaches, managers, and government organizations that help to provide training facilities, equipment, and other resources.

Mental strength

Kenyan runners are known for their mental toughness and ability to push through pain and fatigue during races. This comes from the training methods and the cultural tradition of running, but also from the way they grow up and the environment they live in.

These are some of the factors that have contributed to the success of Kenyan athletes in long-distance running. However, it’s worth noting that other countries such as Ethiopia have similar factors and have also been successful in long-distance running.

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