The two most popular camps with foreign international teams and club runner tourists like me, are Kerio View and the High Altitude Training Centre (HATC).
The first class gym attracts pretty much every top Kenyan athlete - you can expect to regularly see the likes of Abel Kirui, Asbel Kiprop & Wilson Kipsang to name just a few.
The food is 100% organic, grown on site and beautifully prepared by Maggie and the rest of the incredibly friendly kitchen staff. Expect a big varied breakfast of porridge, bread, pancakes, fruit & chai (Kenyan speciality tea/milk/coffee hybrid - which tastes awesome!).
Home made soup, pasta & rice for lunch and a dinner of beef/chicken/fish served with ugali (Kenyan rocket fuel for runners!), potatoes, rice & veg. Friday night is Pizza night though, so if you like your fast food there is one day to relapse!
Many of the professional athletes were walking around with their ankles and achilles mummified in KT-tape after a few days.
What to pack
Due to its remote location, western home comfort are few and far between, expensive and a long walk from the camp. For those with s sweet tooth, I'd suggest packing things like chocolate as you won't find any in Iten. You can't even get a WADA blood testing agent in Iten, let along a Mars bar!
Despite the altitude and the remote location of Iten, Garmins work fine and pick up a strong signal. However, pack a torch and back-up chargers plus plenty of non-electrical ways of entertaining yourself as power cuts are frequent and can last for days at a time.
Health Concerns & Logistics
The final thing to consider are the health & physiological effects of living at an altitude twice the height of Ben Nevis.
Be sure to take it very easy for your first few days, you will feel very tired and lethargic but this is normal, it is just your body acclimatising. Don't try to force it early as it will soon catch up with you!
It is advised to spend a minimum of four weeks at altitude to benefit from the effects upon your return to sea level. An excellent blog for altitude training information is http://egansaltitudeadventures.blogspot.co.uk/
Whether an aspiring international athlete or your average club runner, Iten is a place that all runners should experience, and offers a reasonably priced option for altitude training when compared to USA or other long haul destinations.
Be sure to check out St Patricks School, home of David Rudisha and Brother Colm whilst in Iten, and of course Kamaryni Stadium before the new all-weather track opens later in 2013.
There is no doubt you will come back inspired, if not by the running, then at the very least the infectious personality of the Kenyan people..
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