EP15 Recap | Adharanand Finn: Learnings and lessons from the endurance elite


A few years ago, I was cruising through the Audible app and something popped up that caught my eye, it was called Running with Kenyans authored by Adharanand Finn, I thought to myself that the book looked interesting, and the name of the author was even more so! I got the book on audible and couldn’t stop listening to it, I think I finished it in a few days.

Admittedly, I think you would need to enjoy or appreciate running to consume his books, but the content is more of a study of societies and subcultures and their relationship to running, given the width of his lens, his first-person experiences and his self-deprecation style of humour his books are ridiculously entertaining.

In his first book, Running with Kenyans, Finn as with all his books to come moves his whole family from the UK to the epicentre of long-distance running, this Kenya, his story builds up to his participation in a marathon, it’s a great story that really examines the heart of Kenyan society and culture and the conditions that lead to the greatest runners to ever walk the planet.

His second book, The Way of the Runner focuses on the Japanese corporate scene and the massive Ekiden, this is a super competitive relay style of racing that drives running culture in Japan, Finn investigates in depth the overlay of Japanese discipline, the meteoric popularity of running in Japan and why, although all the ingredients are there for massive global success, the Japanese struggle to bring it together consistently on a global stage, this investigation yields some very interesting contrasts when considering the Kenyan running philosophy.

His third book (and obviously my favourite book), The Rise of the Ultra Runners, is an insane journey through Finn’s own transformation from decent road runner to running some of the most difficult and longest ultramarathons in the world, it’s a tale worth the read for those that are into stories of running, ultras or simply pushing beyond self-perceived limits! The story also collects the culture of Ultrarunning beautifully.

This is a fun interview with an author that I really enjoy, whether you are a novice or serious runner, or just someone that is interested in subcultures I really recommend checking this interview!

RJ Singh

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