Name: Tom Cassidy
Country of Residence: UK
Kenya Experience Camp: June 2015
Running Times: Marathon – 3:15:05
I enjoy running any distance from a mile to a marathon. I started running properly in 2010 with the Dublin Marathon being the first of four marathons to date. My best time has been 3:15:05 in Chester in 2013. Since then I’ve enjoyed running shorter distances on the track such as 1500m and 3000m but the marathon still holds a special place in my heart and I’m running the Berlin Marathon in September 2015.
It was evident when I started taking a real interest in running that the best marathoners in the world were Kenyan. I read and saw countless features on Kenyan running and how many of the runners trained in Iten. After seeing that British and European athletes came and trained in Iten regularly, the experience seemed more accessible and possible so to decided to look into it, and that’s when I found out about the Kenya Experience. Since then, I was determined to book onto a camp and experience the Kenyan way of training.
The experience was incredible. A once in a lifetime trip to the home of champions. The High Altitude Training Centre is the perfect place to stay with lovely staff, beautiful food and a stunning setting. The other people on the camp were all likeminded runners of all levels and we all got on really well, like we’d known each other for much longer than the 2 weeks we were there! I’m very thankful for that and have made friends I will stay in contact with. Willy Songok looked after everyone on the camp exceptionally well and coach Hugo van den Broek lent his exceptional advice to runners of all abilities on the camp.
We met the world’s best athletes, trained on some stunning trails including in Singore Forest which is beautifully peaceful and learnt some real insight into Kenyan running and what makes them so good. Watching a Kenyan track session at Kamariny Stadium is inspiring as is stepping on the track to join them, if a little daunting at first! It’s incredible how accessible all of the top athletes are in Iten. It’s also heartwarming how friendly everyone is. All of the local kids running out into the road to say “How are you?” as you run past is a memory that will stay with me for a long time.
I feel incredibly fortunate to have chosen a Kenya Experience trip which has kickstarted my marathon training and provided me with the trip of a lifetime. If you’re looking for a trip where you just want to appreciate every single second of the experience and enjoy every moment, what are you waiting for, I’d say sign up right now!
The Kenya Experience team were a pleasure to deal with from booking, to the entire trip and after getting back too. Thanks for some incredible memories that will last a lifetime!