ITEN, Kenya — It's the start of a usual day in a very unusual place. It’s dark, cold and damp, mist thick in the mountain air. Lines of children in drab grey uniforms scurry to school along the muddy road. Swift as they are, a group of runners swoops past them in brightly colored tracksuits.
These are the world’s best athletes and this is their home.
The little village of Iten, two kilometres above sea level in Kenya’s Western Province, is where more than 800 Kenyan runners, including world record holders and Olympic favorites, live and train. The tiny mountain town has become almost mythological in running circles, producing world-beaters year after year.
But as Kenya modernizes and more and more Kenyans move to the city, fewer and fewer are taking up running as profession. Some in Iten now worry that the country’s dominance in the sport could be waning.