Footsteps of Champions 2017-09-23T15:51:06+00:00

Footsteps of Champions Overview

Program Length

10-13 Days

Dates

July 24 – August 2 or 4

Focus

  • Daily Adventures

  • Training and Racing

  • Relaxation, Fun and Friends

Max Group Size

12 Participants

Cost

$3295/$4195 

  • Learn from your STRIVE-Kenya Gurus and local coaches, experienced travelers and athletes who are very familiar with Africa and have the knowledge of Kenyan history and culture to help you get the most out of your trip.
  • Experience traveling through and training in the Rift Valley – the heart of the Kenyan running community and the cradle of humanity – culminating in a 5k, 10k, or half marathon!
  • Interact with world-class athletes and coaches in Iten and learn secrets from the best. Past encounters have included world record holders David Rudisha and Wilson Kipsang and legendary coaches Renato Canova and Brother Colm O’Connell. 
  • Learn about some of the Colonial history of East Africa with a visit to the famous Kericho tea fields.
  • Finish your journey on a 3-day Safari to the Masai Mara and try to spot the Big Five and other marvelous creatures.
  • Feeling drained? Tack on 3 days and 2 nights and finish the trip relaxed with a visit to the beautiful Diana Beach.   

Group size: 6-12

Staff: Two native English speakers with many years local experience, plus our local Kenya coaches, drivers, and tour guides.

Open to: All travelers, ages 13-65. All active activities are optional and always feature different levels of intensity.*

Program Summary

Explore Kenya’s Rift Valley and the Masai Mara as you follow in the footsteps of countless marathon champions and search for elephants and lions in the Mara Game Park. This trip is built for the traveler who wants to stay active and explore a new culture while also experiencing the sights of East Africa as more than a tourist. Experience typical traditions in Kenya while meeting locals and learning from your STRIVE Gurus who have worked in these communities for years.

Begin your trip in Nairobi – the nation’s capital – before flying over the Rift Valley to the town of Eldoret where you will take the final leg of your journey to Iten. We will spend the first several days and nights at the High Altitude Training Centre (HATC) where we will “run into” many professional runners and coaches as we run, bike and hike the hills of Iten. We may also have the opportunity to meet with legendary coaches like Renato Canova and Brother Colm O’Connell.

A few day trips around Iten will give you a better idea of the beauty of the Rift Valley – the cradle of humanity. Explore the breath-taking views from the local forests as professional runners dart through the trees, a visit to the nearby giraffe sanctuary, and run the same routes as the world’s best endurance athletes. Finish up your time in Iten with a 5K, 10K, or Half Marathon, along the same roads with which you’ve become familiar through the spectacular Rift Valley and flanked by the many champions that call these streets home. 

After departing Iten, venture through southern Kenya as we get a taste of the fresh tea from Kericho and learn about the colonial history of the area.

Finally, embark on a safari to the world-famous Masai Mara Game Reserve with experienced, professional guides. Try to spot the Big Five – the lion, elephant, African buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros. Arrive back in Nairobi for a quick meal, clean up and head home with stories to tell your family and friends!

Feeling tired? For those who want to arrive home feeling totally relaxed, embark on the 3 day/2 night additional excursion to Diana Beach – a tranquil, peaceful location where you can sit back, put your feet up and enjoy a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice.  The beach trip will include options for scuba diving, massages, Swahili cultural museums and much, much more.  Everyone should have a chance to spend your last nights of vacation listening to the soothing sounds of the ocean waves as you drift off to sleep and soak in the memories of an amazing trip.

Day 1 – Arrival in Nairobi

In the evening, be greeted by our experienced STRIVE staff who will be awaiting your arrival in the Nairobi airport. Take a short taxi ride to a nearby hotel for a relaxing meal and night of rest. Watch closely and you may be able to see the giraffes from a nearby game park as we drive to and from the hotel.

Lodging: Strand Hotel or similar
Meals: Dinner

*Note: you can choose to arrive on the morning of Day 2 if the flight is more convenient. Please contact us with any questions about arrival logistics. We’re happy to accommodate as many special requests as we can.

Day 2 – Nairobi to Iten

Have breakfast and then head out for your domestic flight. Enjoy the beautiful view as you fly over the Rift Valley. Have lunch at an Indian or Irish restaurant in Eldoret, the “City of Champions.”  Visit a local creamery for some fresh ice cream. There might even be time for some shopping at the “Imani Workshop” where HIV positive women find acceptance through employment while exploring their passion in artistry and business.

Arrive in time for an afternoon tea at the HATC followed by a quick tour of the camp. Settle in before an evening core workout or jog with local athletes (or, just relax and adjust to altitude). Discuss your fitness goals with a local coach or STRIVE staff to begin getting the most out of your time in Kenya.

Lodging: HATC
Meals: B,L,D (with optional morning and afternoon teas, coffee, cocoa with bread and PB/Jam)
Workouts: Walking or short run to acclimate to altitude

Day 3 – Iten   

After breakfast, and if you feel ambitious, you can brave the famously challenging Kenyan Fartlek training run at 10am.  Many local, and occasionally famous runners take part in this weekly tradition. Take private transport down to the start, where you will rub shoulders with the world’s greatest. Do a short warm up, and then run with hundreds of Kenyans (literally) up the hills of Iten to camp. Transportation will be available for those who just want to ride along and take photos of the scenery and athletes along the route or for those who are looking for a shorter workout.  Simply hop in the van and ride back to the HATC where your post-run pancakes and fruit will be waiting.

After lunch, take a tour of STRIVE and Lornah’s Foundation projects in the area. Meet local students and participate in fun activities with them on the school grounds. After tea, take a late afternoon walk through the “enchanted” forest just outside of Iten before settling in for a relaxing evening.

Lodging: HATC
Meals: B, L, D (with optional morning and afternoon teas, coffee, cocoa with bread and PB/Jam)
Workouts: Morning endurance, afternoon cross training

Day 4 – Iten

Take a trip down into the Kerio Valley to see the Kerio Valley Divers in action as they perform nerve rattling jumps into a deep gorge. Visit one of the local sites where spirits are said to live.  After lunch, take a short hike through a nearby forest.  Visit a local running “camp” where budding athletes live in tents and dedicate their life to training.

In the afternoon, join a local Kenyan family for a traditional tea service. Discuss Kenyan cultural traditions around the home and learn some Swahili and Kalenjin phrases.  These phrases are the easiest way to get a smile from the Kenyans! Pay attention, listen and try hard.  It will make your experience better, we promise.

Watch the sunset and eat dinner at the Kerio View Restaurant, overlooking the Rift Valley.

Lodging: HATC
Meals: B, L, special D (with optional morning and afternoon teas, coffee, cocoa with bread and PB/Jam)
Workouts: Morning endurance, afternoon cross training

Day 5 – Iten

Learn about traditional diet and training methods used by the greatest runners in the world.

Participate in a Q & A with a panel of local coaches and professional athletes. Past panels have included legendary coaches such as Brother Colm and Renato Canova, along with super-star athletes Vivian Cheruiyot and David Rudisha. They will be giving their input as to what makes Iten the “Home of Champions” and discussing the dedication it takes to make the professional ranks amongst the stiff competition.

In the afternoon test your ability to bargain in the local market and compare purchases and prices to see who got the best deal on that bunch of bananas or Kenyan team jersey.

Easy runs today!

Lodging: HATC
Meals: B, L, D (with optional afternoon teas, coffee, cocoa with bread and PB/Jam)
Workouts: Morning run, afternoon cross training

Day 6– Iten

STRIVE, in partnership with Lornah’s Foundation plans to host and sponsor the Iten Half-Marathon in Summer 2018!  Put those lungs to the test as you compete with yourself, the clock, or the runners around to finish 5K, 10K, or a half marathon on the beautiful red-clay roads.

Enjoy the evening in a post-race party, getting to know the fellow competitors local community members.

Lodging: HATC
Meals: B, L, D, afternoon tea as described
Workouts: Morning RACE, afternoon cross training

Day 7 – On the road to Kericho

Short early morning walk or shake-out run followed by a quick breakfast and our departure from the Home of Champions. As we travel south we can grab a quick “selfie” at the equator.  We will arrive in a colonial hotel in Kericho, known as the “tea district”. Learn the history and the importance of tea cultivation in Kenya as we visit and head out for a run along the plush rolling hills if you’ve got the energy. Be sure to charge up your mobile devices for our Safari!

Lodging: Tea Hotel or similar
Meals: abbreviated breakfast, L, D, and PLENTY of tea options!
Workouts: Morning run, afternoon run or hike

Day 8 – Mara

After an “English breakfast” we continue our march south to the Masai Mara, in time for a tour of a typical Masai Village. Learn about local Masai customs as you sit inside a house made of, you guessed it, cow dung. Peruse artwork created and made by the Masai people and help support the local economy (if you want) by bringing some art home with you. Don’t forget your daily cup of tea and head out into the wild savannah of Africa for an evening game drive.  This could entail your first lion or elephant sighting.  Come back for a hearty nighttime meal with local dancers showing off their jumping ability.  We’re betting they can jump higher than you can. Gaze at the stars without the constant light pollution we encounter back home as lights go out at 10pm!

Lodging: Sidai Camp or similar
Meals: hearty breakfast, L, D, afternoon tea
Workouts: early morning run and/or evening run

Day 9 – Mara
“Safari” is Swahili for “journey.” And Safari we will! Lights come back on at 5am in time for you to grab your camera for a morning game drive. See lions hunting for their daily protein source as we continue our drive through the park to search for the elusive “BIG FIVE.” Lunch will be had at a safe distance from the cats under a tree in the park. Stop by the river separating the Mara from the Serengeti where crocodiles await wildebeest making their yearly migration and hippos bask in the sun relaxing and just generally being lazy.

Lodging: Sidai Camp or similar
Meals: hearty breakfast, L, D, afternoon tea
Workouts: Evening run or walk

Day 10 – Mara

One last trip out into the wild and a last chance to witness a “morning hunt” and then we’ll be on our way to Nairobi.  We’ll make a short stop in town, for a shower to clean up and to repack your bags for the trip home.  Savor that last Kenyan meal and stock up on locally produced coffee from a Kenyan favorite, Java House, before heading to the airport for a goodbye to your trip-mates and your flight home.

Lodging: repacking in Nairobi, then catch some Zzzzz on the plane!
Meals: B, L, Goodbye Dinner!
Workouts: Rest – enjoy your last day in Kenya!

Diani Beach Add-On

Day 11

Take a morning flight to Mombasa. Explore Mombasa in the morning, stopping by Fort Jesus and the Swahili Cultural Museum before heading to Diani. Check into our hotel and enjoy lunch at a beachside restaurant. Rest up for a mid-afternoon dive where you can check out the Alpha Funguo wreck and see octopi and a plethora of bright fish and large sea turtles.

Enjoy an evening of dining and drinks on the beach at the famous Swahili Beach or Forty Thieves beachside bar.

Lodging: Diani Reef or similar
Meals: hearty brunch, D
Workouts: midday dive, late afternoon run and/or hotel gym

Day 12

After your morning workout and breakfast, contemplate a massage at the resort spa. Enjoy a special Rassoul treatment an added recovery for your skin and body as a conclusion to your tour of Kenya. Take advantage of your last full day to soak in some equatorial sun so you can arrive home refreshed!

Lodging: Diani Reef or similar

Meals: B, L, D

Workouts: Morning run and/or hotel gym

Day 13

After a relaxing breakfast on the beach. Take a trip through the Shimo La Tewa Cave on your way back to Mombasa airport. Fly back to Nairobi and have a goodbye dinner with your trip mates before catching your evening flight home.

Lodging: repacking in Nairobi, then catch some Zzzzz on the plane!
Meals: B, L, Goodbye Dinner!

Workouts: Morning run and/or hotel gym

Your Content Goes Here

No! While Kenyan culture is definitely runner-heavy, especially in Iten, we encourage people who are non-runners to be a part of our trips. We do suggest you enjoy physical activity and being outside.  In general, you will definitely get more out of the trip if you enjoy being active, but if you want to use the group’s running/exercise time to relax and explore, that’s fine too. There are enough activities, sights and good food to keep everyone happy and engaged.

At the HATC you will have access to a full length swimming pool and well maintained fitness center. The fitness center includes free weights, nautilus equipment, treadmills, ellipticals and other equipment. There is also a separate room that is dedicated to yoga and stretching which offers classes a few times per week and is open to our guests throughout the day.

Bikers will be provided with a well-maintained mountain bike with a helmet. We believe in safety first and helmets will be a requirement if you do decide to go the biking route. Choosing to ride a bike will not cost extra BUT we do need to know if advance if you will be biking so we can be sure to procure the bikes. If you are an avid biker please do let us know. As a biker, you’ll have the option to either accompany the runners (a very low intensity on the bike) or bike on your own.

The weather in the Rift Valley of Kenya is consistently temperate during July. Due to the high elevation it does get very cool at night and in the early mornings. On a cold morning/evening, it wouldn’t be unusual for the temperatures to be in the low to mid 40’s. Please make sure that you pack accordingly if you are a person who typically gets cold easily. The good news is that it does tend to clear up during the middle portion of the day and temperatures rise rapidly and approach the mid-70’s most days. The key to a trip in Kenya is layers. You’ll inevitably be chilly in the morning, sweating around lunch and then cooling off again around dinner time. Just come prepared with the right clothing and you’ll do just fine. If you have questions about packing, be sure to email us!

We at STRIVE cannot give advice about what vaccinations you should or shouldn’t have but we can certainly point you in the right direction about the best course of action. We recommend scheduling a visit with your physician who will be able to advise you on the vaccinations they would recommend for a trip to Kenya. We also encourage our participants to visit the CDC Website on Health Information for Traveler’s to Kenya.

Yes! There will be at least 2 opportunities to do laundry during your trip. Laundry in Kenya is very cheap and comes back dry and folded but could take a few days as the weather is very wet and there are no dryers. Expect to pay somewhere between $1-3 per pound of clothes. Kenyans tend to charge more for jeans because they are difficult to wash by hand. Your guides will help with finding local Kenyans for washing your clothes, or you can wash by hand, the Kenyan way!

It’s as intense as you want it to be. We cater to all levels of runners or athletes and we will never ask you to do more than you feel comfortable doing. We might have some people who run 10 miles a day and we may have others who do some yoga in early AM and spend the rest of the morning exploring the new town and immersing themselves in Kenyan culture!

The HATC is very safe and has locked security gates and keys to your rooms. We encourage everyone to lock their money and passports in their luggage if possible (if you already have TSA locks on your luggage that would suffice) so that when your rooms are being cleaned there is no potential for theft. That being said, we have had absolutely NO PROBLEMS with theft by the maintenance or cleaning staff in the many trips we have done to Kenya.

Kenya’s national languages are both Swahili and English. However, English is usually a Kenyan’s THIRD language, after their “mother tongue” (culture dominant language), then Swahili, followed by English. So, while you can get around with English, you will certainly pick up a few phrases that will help you communicate during your trip. Being able to communicate with people in a foreign country will always enhance your experience. We will take care of any communication issues you may have and we’ll be happy to give you a crash course in Swahili if you are feeling particularly adventurous. Greetings are very important in African culture, so the very basics in saying “Jambo” (hello), “Asante Sana” (Thank you), and “Hakuna Matata” (no problem!) are very important and go a long way to showing Kenyans that you care. We will be staying in a “Kalenjin” dominant area so you also might want to learn a few greetings and “Thank you” (kongoi) in that language as well. More on that when you arrive!

The places we visit will all have plenty of options for people with dietary restrictions. Delicious vegetarian options abound at the HATC and other places we visit. Your group leaders will be vigilant about checking with kitchen staff to be sure your options are available. Keep in mind, that just like in the United States the more restrictive your diet is the more difficult it will be to find places to eat. Simply let us know what are your dietary restrictions and we’ll plan accordingly.

The tap water is not potable in Kenya. Purified water is available through the HATC while we are staying in Iten. Bottled water and Steri-Pens (water purifers) will take care of the rest of your hydration needs on your trip.

Footsteps of Champions - July 24 to August 2 or 4

$3295 / 4195
  • Price includes: All lodging, meals as noted, non-alcoholic beverage with meals, domestic airfare and other ground transportation, excursion entry fees, professional guides to lead group activities and help organize free time, 24-hour-a-day support both on the ground and from the US based staff. Price is based on double occupancy; $495 fees applies for single occupancy. $4195 price includes 3 day/2 night Diana Beach add-on
  • Price does not include: International airfare, visa charges, overweight luggage fees, snacks and beverages outside of meals, personal spending, massages and sports therapy services, internet or cell phone access fees, tips for additional assistance.
  • NOTE: Are you the non-runner in a family of runners? You do NOT have to be a runner to enjoy the trip. The HATC has plenty of athletic options for other athletes or a nice swimming pool area to relax at and enjoy the noon sun.  During most of our runs, there will be an option to bike alongside runners or ride in our private vehicle between sites, or simply use the time as free exploration time. The choice of athletic intensity is entirely up to you.