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Doc Andrew Murray's 'Lessons from Africa'
Merrell Ambassador & endurance athlete Dr Andrew Murray, recently completed his epic journey across East Africa in search of the secrets behind what he labels “the single greatest, most concentrated production line of world class talent in sport.”
Him and former Royal Marine Commando Donnie Campbell ran up and down the 5895metre/ 19341feet Mt Kilimanjaro in a day, did the same with 4985 metre Point Lenana, running over 50km at significant altitude every single day for 18 consecutive days and over 900km in total, traversing national parks, tropical rainforests as well as running and spending time with the athletes and coaches that make Kenya the pre-eminent force in middle and long distance running globally.
Murray also spent time with Olympic and World Champions such as John Ngugi, Yobes Ondieki and Edna Kiplagat, and experts including Colm O’Connell who has coached over 20 world champions. Additionally, he observed the 2013 Kenyan World Championship trials, where Olympic and World champions like Ezekiel Kemboi and Linet Masai both finished 6th, behind emerging stars. At the previous Athletics World Championships, in Daegu 2011, Kenyan athletes won a remarkable 17 medals, with 11 of those going to athletes resident in Iten, a village of only 4000 people.
Dr Murray comments:
“Running Mt Kilimanjaro, and covering fairly chunky distances each day at considerable altitude are difficult, but applying knowledge from the Kenyan champions, and the made it a fair bit easier. Seeing buffalo at close quarters makes you run faster also.
Because Kenyan athletes are so dominant in middle and long distance running people assume you have to be from Kenya or East Africa to be be successful in these events- that success is based on genetics and where you are from.
Neither myself or any experts I spoke to can find any truth in this. There is no secret, it’s about doing absolutely everything right, coupled with some natural ability. British athletes like Mo Farah have been competing with and defeating the best in middle and long distance events- maybe Britain can dominate these events in future...
Ironically despite the world class talent in Kenya, most aspiring athletes have inadequate footwear, so it was great to take 500 pairs of shoes across, including 150 new pairs from Merrell.”
John Ngugi, a 5 times World Champion, and Olympic Champion who now coaches leading prospects added:
“It is not easy to be the best. It is necessary to be disciplined, to eat well and to train hard with no excuses. My moto is “train hard and fight easy”- if you have trained hard the race will be easier. Scottish and UK runners can win also, if they do these things”
Edna Kiplagat, the current World Marathon champion stated:
“Discipline, determination, and heart are key factors in achieving success. Eating well and being dedicated are also important.”
Colm O’Connell added:
“Most of the Kenyan champions come from poor, rural backgrounds, and there are many fine, dedicated athletes here, but the UK dominated middle distance running for a while, with Coe, Ovett, Cram, and Tom McKean, while British Cycling have shown a talented group, all doing well. ”
You can find out more about Andrew Murray's epic challenge and adventures on his website: www.docandrewmurray.com