Many people have wondered why Kalenjins are fast runners, quicker than any other tribe in Kenya. Just like we observed how Bajau people of Southern Philippines are adapted from living very well in seas and oceans, the world is also fascinated by how an ethnic people from Kenya can outlive other humans and become fast runners.
Apart from the jealous western world scientists who attributed this amazing speed to cultural reasons, researchers have argued that adaptation to the surrounding environment is the key to these great marathoners. It is said that when the Kalenjin community arrived in Kenya from Sudan and settled in the present day Rift Valley, they were not such great runners. But natural selection and evolution has shaped these distance runners and made them fit to dominate the world of athletics.
The natural selection has made their limbs (legs) long and thin. Their stature is a bit short for heat dissipation during running. Heat dissipation is the most important factor for great runners. The runners’ lungs are a bit large than the rest of Kenyans for better oxygen absorption, used for burning of stored ATP hence enough energy.
The runners’ bodies also have extra red blood cells to carry enough oxygen around the body. Other important physiological factors are longer legs relative to the body height (for obvious reasons) and thinner ankles and calves (to decrease the energy required to swing the leg), which successful Kalenjin runners appear to have.
But it has also been noted that the Kalenjins from Nandi hills runs much better than their counterparts from other Rift Valley regions. Whether this is attributed to coming from hilly areas is something scientists are investigating. Why do you think runners from Nandi hills outshine their counterparts 🤔?