From Kabarnet, the C51 runs on to Eldoret across the hot and fascinating Kerio Valley. The excitement of this route builds only after you leave Kabarnet town and plunge into the valley, a drop of 1000m in not much more than the same distance. There are magnificent views as the road rolls through Chebloch, crossing the Kerio River, after which the road turns sharply up the Tambach escarpment on the western side of the Kerio Valley. A turn right just before the hamlet of Biretwo is the start of the lonely trans-valley route north to Tot. Also before Biretwo, look out for the Torok Falls, looming high above and to your left at the top of the Tambach escarpment. They’re worth a visit if you like waterfalls; count on a good half-day if you’re hiking up.
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Running in Iten
Running in Iten
The remarkable St Patrick’s High School in ITEN must be the world’s top school for runners, having produced middle-distance stars such as Peter Rono, Wilson Kipketer and Ibrahim Hussein, while its associated athletics camps have produced female runners such as Lydia Cheromei, Susan Chepkemei and Lornah Kiplagat. The phenomenon dates back to the 1970s, when an Irishman, Colm O’Connell, recognized the students’ potential and set out to turn them into world-class athletes, developing a training programme which Iten’s runners still follow to this day. Their remarkable success is something that sports scientists have yet to explain fully, but has a lot to do with climate, altitude and physiological factors, and seems particularly to involve the Nandi. But the town’s reputation has spread, and these days elite athletes come from all over the world to do their high-altitude training in Iten, several hundred passing through each year to run up and down the valley and absorb the atmosphere of champions. If you’re interested in pursuing some serious athletics, contact the High Altitude Training Centre, which can arrange coaching, personal training and physiotherapy from Ksh5000 per week.