Iten (Kenya) is a small town in the highlands of Kenya. It's situated in the Rift Valley province, at approximately 35k (22 miles) from the city Eldoret. Iten lays at an altitude of 2400 meter (7900 feet) and is famous for being the centre of Kenyan middle- and long distance running. This started many years ago, when an Irish Patrician Brother, Colm O'Connel, who was the principal of the local St. Patricks High School, discovered that many of his students had a talent for running. He used the school holidays to organize running camps, both for his own student-runners and for talented runners from the rest of the country. Later the school decided to plant a tree for everyone of it's students that had success at an international level. Winthin a few years the school compound was full of trees. No other highschool in the world has raised and educated so many international top athletes.

  track Kamariny

In the year 2000 Lornah Kiplagat started her High Altitude Training Centre in Iten. This was the first training centre with decent facilities, meant for Kenyan as well as foreign athletes. Hilda Kibet trained and lived in this camp from 2000 to 2001 and met Hugo van den Broek here, when Hugo came to Kenya after he graduated. In those years, Iten was already famous among Kenyans for being one of the best places to train, due to the altitude, the tranquility, the perfect climate and the great trails.

In the past decenium the fame of Iten grew further. More and more Kenyan runners make Iten their homeground, to be able to train with the best. At the moment a few thousand athletes live and train in Iten. Some of the most famous are: Wilson Kipsang (former worldrecord holder marathon and London marathon champion), Abel Kirui (2x worldchampion marathon), David Rudisha (worldrecord holder and Olympic champion 800m), Florence Kiplagat (worldrecord holder half marathon), Edna Kiplagat (2x worldchampion marathon), Mary Keitany (worldchampion half marathon, winner London marathon), Asbel Kiprop (Olympic champion 1500m).

Apart from within Kenya, Iten also became famous in the rest of the world. An increasing number of international topathletes come to Iten to train, especially during the winter: between November and March, when large parts of ther world are cold, it's mostly perfect weather in Iten. Finally, in recent years, also see recreational runners have found their way to Iten. They like to get a taste of the Kenyan (and international) athletics, like to see for themselves what makes Kenyans such great runners, or they just come to train hard and give a boost to their own performances.

The weather in Iten is relatively stable; mid day temperatures are almost always between 18-25 degrees Celsius, or 64-77 Fahrenheit. At night and in the evening it can be colder, so we would advice you to bring a sweater. Between December  and March it is mostly dry. April/May is often a rainy season, as well as August/September or September/October. During the rainy seasons Iten experiences a lot of rain, but this mostly falls in the evening and night. Also in the rainy seasons it is no problem to train, just like the Kenyans do, but since the roads can be muddy early in the morning, one may be forced to do the morning session at 9.00 or 10.00.    If you want to read more about Kenyan running and about Iten, we can recommend the following books: Toby Tanser - Train hard, win easy Toby Tanser - More Fire Adharanand Finn - Running with the Kenyans