Running means business in Iten, Kenya | Biz weekly

Iten is just a small own at an altitude of 2,400 metres (8000 feet) above sea level in the Rift Valley, Kenya. The high-altitude location, the sun-blessed climate and the fact that there are numerous traffic-free dirt tracks makes it the perfect training environment for international running athletes. Iten, a town of just 4,000 inhabitants, flourishes thanks to the running business.

“Olympic gold medalists, world record holders as well as the stars of tomorrow are all being drawn to the modest red-dirt Rift Valley destination, fast emerging as the go-to training destination for the world's elite runners”, eNews Channel Africa of South African reports.

Thousands of international runners are now being drawn to the town each year, among them Britain's Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and women's marathon record holder Paula Radcliffe, both of whom have fled the cold European winter for pre-season training. The ‘runners’ magnet’ is the High Altitude Training Centre (HATC), set up nearly 15 years ago by runner and entrepreneur Lornah Kiplagat. Kiplagat, a Kenyan by birth who later acquired a passport of The Netherlands, hopes that one day running may bring Kenya as much business as safari and beaches.

The training centre now has 36 rooms, a gym and a swimming pool. A room costs around 50 dollars a night.

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