Training for Olympic glory in a Kenyan town

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Athletes train for Olympic glory in Kenyan town
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Training for Olympic glory in a Kenyan town
Athletes prepare before the start of a national half marathon in the town of Kapsabet, near the town of Eldoret in western Kenya, March 20, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Athletes exercise in the early morning in the sports ground of the University of Eldoret in western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Foreign athletes train in Iten, near the town of Eldoret, western Kenya, March 20, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An athlete changes after early morning training in the sports ground of the University of Eldoret, western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Athletes exercise in the early morning in the sports ground of the University of Eldoret in western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An athlete trains in Iten, near the town of Eldoret, western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Athletes clothing and shoes lie on the ground during early morning training in the sports ground of the University of Eldoret, western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Athletes run on a road during a half marathon near the town of Eldoret in western Kenya, March 20, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Athletes exercise in the early morning in Iten, near the town of Eldoret, western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Athletes change after early morning training in the sports ground of the University of Eldoret, western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Kenyan runner Egla Musop Jebichii, 28, who is partially blind, poses with her 3rd position medal won in Dubai to qualify to run in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro this year, Iten, western Kenya, April 11, 2016. Jebichii is married to an athlete and has one son, who is five. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES?
An athlete runs on a road during a half marathon near the town of Eldoret in western Kenya, March 20, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A general view shows part of the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley near the town of Iten in western Kenya, March 20, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Athletes run on a road during a half marathon near the town of Eldoret in western Kenya, March 20, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
An elephant statue stands next to the Kerio View, a hotel and training camp mostly used for foreign athletes training in Iten, western Kenya, April 13, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Athletes exercise in the early morning in Iten, near the town of Eldoret, western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Athletes run through a tea plantation during a national half marathon in the Nandi Hills, near the town of Eldoret in western Kenya, March 20, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
A woman walks past a sign on a public road welcoming people to the town of Iten, western Kenya, April 12, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Kenyan long distance runner Thomas Pkemei Longosiwa, 27, poses in his room at a training camp in Iten, western Kenya, April 12, 2016. Thomas has competed at the Olympics before and was the Kenyan 5000 metres champion from 2007. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Disabled javelin thrower Nelly Jeptoo Sile, 42, demonstrates how she practices with a home made wooden javelin, in her home in Turbo, western Kenya, April 11, 2016. Sile has been an athlete for almost 18 years. She is a mother of two children. She says she is regarded as the second best professional disabled javelin thrower worldwide and aims at winning first position in this year's Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Kenyan runner Johana Kariankei, 24, poses by his shop which sells athletic souvenirs in Iten, western Kenya, April 11, 2016. Johana has been running professionally for five years. He's a Kenyan Maasai from a different region of the country but lives at a training camp in Iten. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Disabled Kenyan runner Egla Musop Jebichii, 28, who is partially blind, prepares for her morning training session at her home in Iten, western Kenya, April 11, 2016. Jebichii has qualified to participate in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro this year, it will be her second time competing in the Paralympics. Jebichii is married to an athlete and has one son, who is five. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Disabled long and middle distance Kenyan runner Hillary Tarus, 26, prepares to train on a track at the Moi University campus in Eldoret, western Kenya, April 12, 2016. Tarus lost his arm in a chaff cutter when he was cutting fodder for cattle, the accident happened in 2010. Tarus has been training as an athlete for six years and lives in his father's farm close to Eldoret. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Disabled Kenyan runner Egla Musop Jebichii, 28, who is partially blind, prepares for her morning training session from her home in Iten, western Kenya, April 11, 2016. Jebichii has qualified to participate in the Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro this year, it will be her second time competing in the Paralympics. Jebichii is married to an athlete and has one son, who is five. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES
Athletes exercise in the early morning in Iten, near the town of Eldoret, western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Athletes exercise in the early morning in Iten, near the town of Eldoret, western Kenya, March 21, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Professional athletes rest at the end of the day, just after a training session, in a training camp in Iten, western Kenya, April 12, 2016. In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn. Kenyan athletics champions like marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and 800 metre champion David Rudisha have trained there, alongside Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others. At 2,400 metres (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle and long distance races to build their endurance and stamina. REUTERS/Siegfried Modola SEARCH "ITEN MODOLA" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "THE WIDER IMAGE" FOR ALL STORIES TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
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ITEN, Kenya (Reuters) - In Kenya's western town of Iten, known as the "Home of Champions" for drawing runners to train from around the world, athletes rise to pound the track and dirt roads at dawn.

Kenyan athletics stars such as marathon world record holder Dennis Kimetto and Olympic 800 meter champion David Rudisha have slogged through their race preparations here, as well as Britain's double Olympic and world champion Mo Farah and a host of others.

At 2,400 meters (7,900 feet), the altitude makes Iten an ideal location for established middle- and long-distance racers to build their endurance and stamina.

The town also draws less experienced athletes aspiring for glory in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August, and disabled sportsmen and women aiming to compete in the Paralympics.

"I hope to be able to participate in the Rio Olympics this year," said Thomas Pkemei, a 27-year-old runner in one Iten camp who is getting ready for Kenya's qualifying contests next month.

"The biggest obstacle is to keep on working to improve your ability and to overcome your injuries when they do happen," said Pkemei, Kenyan champion for the 5,000 meters in 2007.

Some athletes choose to make the town their full-time residence, like Egla Musop Jebichii, 28, a partially blind runner who will join the Kenyan team in the Paralympics. She lives with her husband and five-year-old son.

She previously ran in London's 2012 Paralympics.

Others start small businesses to support themselves. Johana Kariankei lives in a training camp and sells souvenirs to foreign athletes there.

When not at his stall, he takes to the green open fields and dirt tracks around Iten to run. But better facilities would help, he said.

"We need good tracks to train in. This is the responsibility of the government to provide."

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