Thursday, March 29, 2012 | Latest audio lessons → VOA Learning English
Going to Kenya to Seek Runners' Winning Formula
Kenyan marathon runners are world-famous for winning races. So some foreign athletes are traveling to Kenya to learn their secrets. Many of them go to the small town of Iten - about 2,400 meters above sea level and about 350 kilometers north of Nairobi.
Lornah Kiplagat was born in Kenya. She has won marathons throughout the world and holds several world records. She heads the High Altitude Training Center in Iten.
LORNAH KIPLAGAT: "The altitude here is, is sorta like perfect. It's not too high. It's not too low. The weather is never hot, it's always, it's warm, but it's always breeze, there's a breeze always. There is everything that you need. There is the gym, there is the pool, the food is good, the nature. So all these things combined, definitely has made it the best place to be in the world."
Top marathon runners can earn millions of dollars a year by advertising products, and from public appearances and prize winnings. After they become famous, many Kenyan runners build homes in Iten and train there. The training can be intense because of the town's high altitude and the hills of the Great Rift Valley. Charlotte Schonbeck is a runner from Sweden.
CHARLOTTE SCHONBECK: "When you're on the sea level, you can come to a certain level by just doing the sea level training and everything. But at one point, you need something extra. And then, I think it's good to start with the high altitude. But you need to be strong on sea level before you go up here."
I'm Christopher Cruise.