Running with the Kenyans:
The passion and the discipline

Passion, purpose and discipline – secret ingredients for high performance

What secrets do the fastest people in the world have for high performance?

There are few things from Africa that generate such genuine awe, fear and respect as a Kenyan runner on the start line of a marathon. It’s impossible to measure what makes for marathon gold, but we can identify some of the high-performance ingredients that drive their ability to win.

Some describe these ingredients to be: training with little modern resources, but with incredible heart, motivation, and intensity. 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. Runners usually train in groups, or a line of athletes, followed by each other’s feet… and there is a saying that it is impossible to improve on your own.

Passion, Purpose and Performance

Harambee is a Kenyan tradition whereby a whole community will come together to help itself. It literally means ‘All pull together’ and is the official motto of Kenya. In training and in races, teammates are often seen just as happy as the gold medal winner, joining in victory celebrations.

This case study explores the successes and ethics of some of Kenya’s champions in the context of the Kenyan running culture and passion, purpose, performance and legacy. We explore the traditions of excellence and the events that shaped the emergence of women running on the world stage.

“I want to be able to show the world that when you focus on your goal, when you work hard and when you believe in yourself, anything is possible.”
Eliud Kipchoge

Ignite team and leadership conversations

  • How will we attract and retain the best talent?
  • What high-performance habits will we, as a team, adopt to sustain us?
  • How will we build our self-belief, loyalty to the team, and trust in one another?
  • What is our team identity? And what should it be?

Format and Approach

Engage your teams in a multimedia, facilitator-led conversation on Zoom, supported with interactive 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

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