Kenyan athletes David Rudisha, Eliud Kipchoge, Vivan Cheruiyot, Tegla Lorope, Janet Jepkosgei
Kenyan athletes David Rudisha, Eliud Kipchoge

Eliud Kipchoge says it best when he says: “You cannot train alone and expect to run a fast time. There is a formula. 100% of me is nothing compared to 1% of the whole team.”

Few things from Africa generate such genuine awe, fear and respect as a Kenyan runner at the start line of a marathon.

There are many great Kenyan athletes that have set (and continue to raise) the benchmark for performance across track, cross-country and distance running. Although it is near impossible to measure what makes for marathon gold, how might we tap into the secrets of these incredible athletes and their achievements to identify some of the high-performance ingredients that drive their ability to win?

What traditions of excellence entice runners from around the world to travel to Africa to train and run with the Kenyans?

Kenyan athlete Eliud Kipchoge

Passion, Purpose and Performance

The global village has taken note of the Kenyan results, how these athletes have dominated athletics for decades – dashing across finish lines with ease, as exhausted competitors barely make it. In this case study, we celebrate the story of the Kenyan athletes and gain inspiration from their incredible and continuing success, looking at what ingredients we might adopt to enable us to nurture and coach for high performance.

Many athletes come from humble backgrounds, many from poverty. It is said that they run for more than glory. Rural villages, the running hubs of Kenya, are dubbed “City of Champions”, where dirt tracks carve a path to the future. We will tap into some of the inspirational dimensions of this story: training with few modern resources, but with incredible heart, motivation and intensity.

Among Kenyan running groups there is a saying …

“It is impossible to improve on your own.”

We will explore the Kenyan tradition of Harambee whereby a whole community will come together to help itself. It literally means ‘All pull together’ and is the official motto of Kenya. What teamwork lessons can we extract to help us pull together as one team?

As we journey through various stories of high performance, we will also look at how successful athletes are using their own resources to give back to their communities – many starting training schools, helping to fund athletics programmes to help nurture young talent, or simply helping to equip upcoming athletes with gear – reinforcing a tradition of excellence established across generations.

Ignite team and leadership conversations

What drives and inspires you to perform to your highest point of contribution?

High-performance habits

  • What high-performance habits will we, as a team, adopt to help us make the micro improvements that deliver the big results?
  • In what areas should your diverse talent be?

Team identity

  • What is our team identity?
  • What should it be?

Building trust

  • How will we build our self- belief, loyalty to the team, and trust in one another?

Performance goals

  • How do we align passion and purpose with performance goals?
  • How disciplined are high performers?

Format and Approach

Ignite your teams to think differently about performance.  Engage them in a session with highly participative, inspiring and practical lessons, delivered in a multimedia-rich, facilitator-led conversation on Zoom and supported by moderated conversations in breakout rooms (hosted by our team of Pod Coaches).


This case study is available in a 90-minute or 180-minute online (Zoom) format.

How does it work?

  • Contact us to let us know that you want LRMG to share this case study with your team
  • We will work with you to design or customise key conversation and reflection questions
  • Participants will get a link to a pre-case study primer to complete prior to the presentation and conversation
  • Your team will receive our Leading the pack! Toolkit as a take-away to ignite further learning and reflection

“Ask yourself: ‘Can I give more?’, the answer is usually yes."
Paul Tergat

Kenyan athletes David Rudisha, Eliud Kipchoge, Vivan Cheruiyot, Janeth Jepkosgei
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