New synthetic track opened in Kenya to boost British distance hopes
Saturday, 01 February 2014
February 1 - British athletes are set to benefit from a new Virgin London Marathon-funded world-class running track opened in the Kenyan town of Iten today.
The synthetic track, opened by Dutch four-time world champion Lornah Kiplagat - who was born in Kenya - will be a first-class training facility.
It is set to be a considerable improvement on the old, worn-out cinder facility that British athletes have had to make do with for the past five years when attending the British Athletics London Marathon Altitude Programme winter endurance camps.
Iten has long been the training destination for Britain's distance athletes, including Mo Farah, Hannah England and Helen Clitheroe, who regularly visit Kenya as part of their training.
The funding of the track forms part of the London Marathon's ongoing commitment to help fulfill one of its founding objectives, to improve the overall standard and status of British distance running.
"The London Marathon is delighted to have helped fund the new tartan track in Iten, 'Home of Champions', where Mo Farah and many of British endurance squad base their winter training," said London Marathon race director Hugh Brasher.
"The combination of running at altitude, excellent rehabilitation facilities provided by British Athletics, and some of the best training partners in the world has made Iten the Mecca for distance runners.
"I am sure the advent of this new track will further help our distance runners achieve their goals in future championships and improve their standards."
Farah, due to make his marathon debut at the London Marathon on April 13, praised the camps for helping him prepare for the London Olympics, at which he won 5,000 metres and 10,000m gold.
"My preparation for London had been going for many months and years," he said.
"Part of that was the London Marathon altitude camps.
"As an athlete being able to get away from any distractions and do my training helped me to prepare.
"I could switch off and channel my energy into areas where it needed to go.
"Being surrounded by other athletes also helped to motivate me and make what I was doing more enjoyable."
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January 2014: Foreign athletics coaches told to leave Kenya because they are "fuelling doping and nationality changes"
January 2014: Top international field to face Farah at London Marathon