Thinking of training in Kenya? Looking at a Kenyan running camp but being put off by reports of rain? Keep reading to get the low down to what rainy season in Kenya is really like.
We’ve received a lot of enquiries and questions on social media in the past few weeks regarding the rainy season in Iten and have seen some somewhat dubious accounts as to what it’s like to run in Kenya at this time. So we thought we would write a little explanation and give a bit of detail as to what you can expect if you do travel during that time.
Whilst we are no meteorologist’s, we do have sufficient experience over the past decade in Kenya to know that what people in Iten think of as bad weather day can often be significantly better than what people in Europe or elsewhere consider a bad weather day. The fact of the matter is that the weather in Iten is so damn good (most of the time) that we are a little spoilt and a bad day in Iten would often be considered a good day in UK!
As of right now, Kenya is undergoing a very heavy spell of rain and there is flooding in certain parts of the country. Thankfully, Iten has not been subjected to the worst of what mother nature is throwing at Kenya, but we are in the midst of an usually prolonged period of rains. Fear not however, as on 9 days out of 10 (and that’s a conservative estimate) the rains fall only to be replaced by bright sunshine and there are still long periods of warm sunny weather and running under the sun is still the norm.
The rains generally fall in the mid to late afternoon or overnight. Given that Iten’s running routes are all of a natural clay earth type consistency, this can lead them to become very muddy. Most days during the rainy spells, that means that the roads or track can be sticky, and very occasionally unusable early in the morning, but the intense sunshine quickly drys them up as the morning goes on. There are occasional days where the rain rolls in quickly and you miss the opportunity for your afternoon run, but that is the worst case scenario on the overwhelming majority of days.
This photo of our very own Myles Edwards, training in Eldoret last week the morning after an excessively heavy downpour perfectly sums up the rainy season in this region of Kenya:
The photo shows Myles (and KE guest Austin) training in gorgeous conditions in lane 3 of Chepkoilel Track. When they arrived to the track at 8am the entire track was soft and muddy, by 9 the sun had dried out the majority of the track and they just had to avoid a few puddles such as this one! Most of the locals waited another hour to begin their workouts when the track was in almost perfect condition but Myles and Austin were keen to beat the mid morning sun (and heat) so cracked on at 9am with just a few puddles to negotiate.
We asked Myles for his view as he has been out in Iten throughout this rainy season and he said:
“It doesn’t even rain immediately after the warmest parts of the day so if you want to avoid the heat you can still wait a while then run. There was a 3 week spell where it was best to run 9am or if you have 2 runs then do it 6am and 10am as during that spell that rain was really unpredictable in the afternoon. But recently I’ve been running at 5:30pm and it’s been fine. You just have to choose your routes carefully but there is always one which is OK. The key is to be flexible during rainy season and you will still be able to train just fine. Like you say the track was fine – just complain less and dodge 1 puddle each lap.“
Furthermore, take this example from Julien Wanders just this morning. Shirt off, racing around the track in gorgeous sunny conditions. This is during what is being described as the heaviest rainy season Iten has seen in a decade.
Please don’t get us wrong, we cannot and do not guarantee great weather. There are days when the clouds simply never lift and Iten stays grey and dreary all day long (those of you reading from the UK will understand how that feels!), but these days are few and far between. In any given 12 month period we would estimate less than 15 days in total which are like that, but unfortunately it is all bar impossible to predict when those will be.
Iten remains a beautiful place to train with an incredible climate for running. Some days you need to be flexible and either follow a different route to the one you had planned, or need to wait a few hours for the roads to dry up before starting training but on the whole, that is as bad as it gets and if you just have to stick to the typical Kenyan running way of early morning running, then Iten’s continually improving infrastructure now means that there are also a few tarmac roads available.
Don’t be put off by reports you may have seen on the rainy season. With a bit of flexibility and a positive attitude you can very easily enjoy a positive Iten training camp even during the ‘bad’ weather (And more likely you will still be sunbathing after training!)
Thanks for reading,
The Kenya Experience – Running Camps in Iten Kenya for all runners
Our running camps provide an inspirational location, expert coaching and a supportive group environment for runners of all levels.
With an emphasis on ‘doing it the Kenyan way’ the camps include guided runs, practical workshops and an exciting itinerary outside of the actual training itself which will immerse you inside the Kenyan running scene. You will meet and learn from top Kenyan runners & coaches and interact with the local community in Iten under the guidance of our expert staff.
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