09 Nov 2017
The NN Running Team has spread its tentacles across five key countries in Africa. Here we offer our guide to the training set up available to our athletes in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Eritrea and South Africa.
Where: The bulk of the NN Running athletes are housed out of the Global Sports Communication training camp in Kaptagat about 30km from Eldoret. Other Kenyan athletes are scattered across several Kenya bases including; Iten, Kapkitony and Keringet.
Star Athletes: The leading athlete out of the NN Running stable is the Kaptagat-based Olympic marathon champion Eliud Kipchoge. Other prominent athletes living and training in the camp include; World Cross Country and World Half-Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor, two-time former World marathon gold medallist Abel Kirui and Uganda’s former World and Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich. Dutch marathon record holder Abdi Nageeye trains with the group but lives in nearby Eldoret. The best known NN Running athlete training in Iten is former World half-marathon record holder Florence Kiplagat. 2011 World marathon silver medallist Vincent Kipruto is one of a group of athletes based in Kapkitony. Reigning world marathon champion Geoffrey Kirui trains and lives in Keringet.
How Does It Work: Athletes sleep two to a room out of the training camp in Kaptagat with a separate block for men and women. The camp was recently installed with running water. The lead coach and co-ordinator out of Kaptagat is the wily former World and Olympic steeplechase silver medallist Patrick Sang. The group also enjoy regular physio and massage and a cook is employed. Athletes based out of Iten, Kapkitony and Keringet live individually.
Training Facilities: Kaptagat is relatively flat for the Kenyan Highlands with much of the running carried out on the hard-packed red trails. One particularly testing 40km endurance run starts at 2400m and rises to around 2700m-2800m above sea level. Track training is carried out in nearby Eldoret on a cinder track. Kapkitony by comparison is much hillier with Iten – the most popular training base in Kenyan – offering an all-weather track and numerous distance trails. Keringet is hilly with a cooler climate. Athletes based out of Keringet train on a quirky grass track which is far from flat and combines both uphill and downhill sections!
Altitude: Eldoret 2000m, Kaptagat 2400m, Iten 2400m, Kapkitony 2700m, Keringet 2700m
Where: All the NN Running Team athletes are based out of the country’s sprawling capital city Addis Ababa.
The leading Ethiopian athlete to feature for the NN Running Team is world 5000m and 10,000m record holder and three-time Olympic gold medallist Kenenisa Bekele. Other top athletes include former World and Olympic marathon bronze medallist Tsegaye Kebede, 2:04 marathoner Tesfaye Abera and recently minted Amsterdam Marathon winner Tadelech Bekele.
How Does It Work: Athletes usually live individually in Addis Ababa and come together for training, some of the athletes live together in Sendafa. Leading the coaching programme on behalf of the NN Running Team is the experienced Getaneh Tessema. Athletes work with several physiotherapists in Addis Ababa, but it provides a less structured medical programme than in Kenya.
Kenenisa Bekele trains at his own track in Suluta but the rest of the NN Running Team train in Sendafa – about a 30-minute drive out of Addis. The undulating trails and grassy terrain provide an ideal training environment. Track sessions are completed in Sendafa on a grass track.
Altitude: Addis Ababa 2400m, Sendafa 2500m
Where: All of the NN Running Team athletes are based of the city’s capital Asmara.
Star Athletes: The 2015 World marathon champion and 2016 New York City Marathon champion Ghirmay Ghebreslassie is the NN Running Team’s most high profile athlete. Another prominent performer is Abrar Osman, who placed seventh at the 2016 IAAF World Half-Marathon Championships and boasts a handy PB for the distance of 60:19.
How Does It Work: Most of the athletes live as individuals, although some of the new athletes selected to represent their zone (region in Eritrea) who come to train and live are based in a camp paid for their club/zone. Two coaches work with the Eritrean athletes led by vastly experienced Italian Massimo Magnani and the Dutchman Veron Lust. They have some medical support via a Dutch physiotherapist.
Track workouts are carried out at the National Stadium, which is also generally where the athletes meet as the starting point for long runs. Most of the roads are generally tarmac and of good quality. Further out of Asmara the roads are usually more sand-based.
Altitude: Asmara 2300m
Where: The NN Running Team are based out of a camp in Kapchorwa in Mt Elgon about 100km from the Kenyan border.
Star Athletes: The leader of the group is rising Ugandan star Joshua Cheptegei, the reigning World 10,000m silver medallist. Moses Kurong, who recently set a half-marathon PB of 59:50, and Stephen Kissa, a 28:05 10km road runner, are two other successful athletes who live and train out of the camp.
How Does It Work: Up to 18 athletes can be based out of the camp which has a common area plus indoor and outdoor kitchen. Athletes sleep two to a room with the coaching programme led by Dutchman Addy Ruiter, who visits Uganda several times a year.
Track sessions are carried out on a grass track at a local school while the athletes will head down to a plateau (at around 1400m) to complete their tempo runs. However, the majority of training will be completed on hilly terrain. The hard-packed trails can become muddy in the rain and during dry periods extremely dusty.
Altitude: Kapchorwa 1900m
Where: The NN Running Team athletes are based out of the high-altitude city of Johannesburg.
Desmond Mokgobu (2:10:51), who placed 21st in the 2017 World Championship marathon, Olympic and World Championship marathoner Sibusiso Nzima (2:11:43) and South African Cross Country champion Precious Mashele are among the most high-profile athletes.
How Does It Work:
The group is led by head coach Hendrick Ramaala, the former two-time World Half-Marathon silver medallist, and he is supported by his wife, Rodica Moroianu a former 32:27 10,000m runner, who leads the strength and conditioning programme. Several of the athletes live in a Ramaala-owned house with other runners living independently and meeting for training. The medical support is fairly limited.
Training Facilities: Track training is carried out in a nearby grass track, although much of the day to day training is carried out on the soft trails of a local park. Typically, the athletes train on a 3.4km loop at the park.
Altitude: Johannesburg 1800m