26 May Kenya, home to the world’s fastest runners, will soon produce high-performance running shoes
For years, runners and scientists have been trying to understand why a developing east African country of 43 million produces the vast majority of the world’s top long-distance runners. Kenya has dominated most of the world’s major long-distance races since the 1980s, winning more than 50 Olympic medals. A Kenyan has won the Boston Marathon’s men’s race in 20 out of 28 races since 1988. Currently, eight of the 10 fastest male marathoners and four of the top 10 female marathoners are Kenyan.
To explain the phenomenon, scientists have studied the Kenyan diet, the impact of living at high altitude, and how often children run to and from school. Some point to genetics, while others highlight personality and disposition, or simply the impact of the prevailing belief that Kenyans have an innate advantage at running.