“They don’t even need a pair of shoes to develop a running sport.”
The royal sport of the Olympic Games has already begun and it has been done with an exhibition of African athletes in the 10,000m. He went to Solomon Bariga of Ethiopia; Silver by Joshua Cheptegei from Uganda and bronze by Jacob Kiplemo from Uganda as well. Africa is the continent from which the world’s fastest runners in the middle and long-distance tests come. “People think everyone in Kenya runs, but no, It is a phenomenon that occurs mostly in the Rift Valleywhich lies on the border with Uganda and is one The altitude is between 1900 and 2700 meters above sea level. chepetji [plata en Japón y plusmarquista mundial] He trained in the same region (Kaptagat) before doing so in Uganda and absorbed all of this culture; It is similar in Ethiopia. Arturo Casado, the European 1500m champion in 2010 and is now a professor at the Sports Studies Center of Rey Juan Carlos University.
He went on his PhD thesis to Kenya to try to find answers to the big questions: Why do they control? Are they unbeatable? He was at Iten in 2011. “At that time I was a A town with a population of 2,000 and a population of 1,000 athletes The rest, farmers and ranchers,” he says, already giving an idea of the importance of running professionally there. “What generates such extraordinary performance is a multifactorial phenomenon analyzed in various investigations,” describes Casado. One such factor is psychosocial. “In a study by Onywera et al., it was found that the most important reason they train and compete is economic,” he says.They live in poverty, run barefoot because they were young, and do not need to buy shoes or practically any economic resource for the development of running. In this way, it is the only way they have to leave the country, to earn money, not to starve and even for their family members in order to survive the disease. They are very different motives than we can have in a developed country and have a very important impact on their performance”, argues Casado. Another study by Saltin and colleagues showed that children in Kenya had to travel a long distance to get to school. For example, in my letter We noticed that Children aged 4 to 14 had to travel an average of 10 kilometers to and from class, walking or even jogging, and then continued running there while they played. In this way, the aerobic base, the work of the foot when you have to walk and run barefoot, to be at an altitude with less oxygen … You can imagine the impact of this aspect on running performance,” says Casado.
The first investigation that the former Spanish athlete spoke of was conducted by the aforementioned Swedish investigator, Bengt Salten. He began by testing whether Africans were physiologically superior to other runners from other regions. VO2max is the maximum amount of oxygen that can be absorbed, transported, and consumed per unit time. It is a factor that is critical to performance in middle and long distance races. “Samples from high-ranking Kenyan and Scandinavian runners, and Danes in particular, were compared and found that the oxygen consumption of Africans is not higher than that of those of Caucasian descent,” Casado says. However, differences were found in anthropometric factors. “They found that Kenyan runners had the tallest and thinnest calves. And they concluded: if this part of the legs was longer and thinner, then they would require less effort to move it, At the same time they can achieve a larger step or a larger step frequency. In other words, the energy expenditure will be lower and the racing economy, greater,” continues the former middle-distance runner.
Even historical factors have been analysed. “At first they were very good in all the tests: javelin, high jump …”, about Arturo Casado. “It all begins with the arrival British Empire At the beginning of the twentieth century, which later brought the best technicians there. Even Kenya went on to rack up international medals like Serafino Antau’s 110 and 220 yard victories at the Commonwealth Games in Perth in 1962, but with independence, the following year, coaches and tests left. Techniques disappear. prove an idea Harambe, a Swahili word meaning “to gather everyone”This means that we have separated us all from the imperialists. In 1964 Kiprogot won his first Olympic medal in Tokyo in the 800 metres. At the Mexico Games in 1968, they had already won eleven medals and a Kipchoge keno, gold in the 1500m and silver in the 5000m, which thanks to these achievements became the representative of the Harambe concept for the Kenyan people, the first head of government Jomo Kenyatta ceded land and farms … David Rudisha’s father (the current 800m world record holder) also stood out there. Get another medal in the 4x400m race. And athletics was promoted a lot, because if it was because of sporting success They can have a farm, for example, that’s supposed to give them the life that was resolved,” Reels.
Everything seen so far must be supplemented with training. “In my thesis, I compare the training characteristics of the world’s best Kenyan long-distance runners and the Spaniards who excel between 2011 and 2013. What we have verified is that the Kenyans did more kilometers, more kilometers of easy sprinting, running, and above all sprinting” ‘, that is, continuous races at high rates, which is partly explained by the fact that there was a lot of marathon running. Every Saturday or Sunday they do long-distance runs, they start running at 5:30 or 6 in the morning, They take their trucks, “matatus” as they are called in Swahili, along with the coach, to provide them with supplies. They start the session with 5 or 10 kilometers in progress and then reach a fairly fast and continuous pace. Kipchoge, for example, showed what he had done in the weeks before he broke the world marathon record and in his diaries he knew he would run 30km on Saturday or Sunday, and on the same day the following week, run another 40km, and so on. Straight. 40 km is like running a marathon at an altitude at a competitive pace or very similar. Many of these methods, though aggressive, have already been copied around the world,” Casado reveals.
Then there is another nutrition study by Onywera et al. There is no McDonald’s, Burger King, nothing. No processed foodEat a rich source of carbohydrates. The water and food intake is less, but the food is very normal, and they are used to consuming very little because they came from poverty.” “Finally, comfort It is also a key aspect that explains his excellent performance,” concludes Casado, noting another factor that has led Africa to the bottom in athletics.
Serious question. If Arturo Casado or anyone goes to live in that area and has a son, could he be a good athlete? “Anthropometric factors are present and there is another aspect which is the fact of being born at altitude and that pregnancy takes place at high altitudes. It has been shown in mice and rat studies that it affects VO2max for the rest of your life, but At the genetic level, there are no studies proving genetic superiority, although there is much more to discover in geneticsMarried, confirms. “There are two New Zealand brothers who decided to go there, without being great athletes, and it is true that they managed to reach a very high level all over the world. Then there is Norway’s Sondre Moen who did the same. They went there without being great athletes and stayed. There they live in a rural environment, they eat, they rest, they train, a little other, there are no distractions, and they have been able to improve a lot,” concludes the European champion in the 1500m in 2010.
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