A Sense of Community

Raising champions: The Kenyan runners confronting domestic abuse

In Iten, a Kenyan town producing world-class runners, the murder of a famous Olympian has led to a reckoning with gender-based violence.

Renowned for their stamina, strength and speed, Kenyan runners have won 34 Olympic gold medals and countless marathons. Many train in Iten, a rural town in the high altitudes of the Rift Valley.

Situated among acres of maize fields and pine trees, with cool air and endless dirt trails, Iten is a runner’s dream, attracting athletes from around the world. Aspiring professional athletes train in camps dotted across the town, running in large packs from early morning.

While Iten has been lauded as the perfect training ground, the recent killing of world record holder Agnes Tirop shocked many, exposing Kenya’s issues with gender-based violence.

In this episode of A Sense of Community, a four-part series about the challenges unique neighbourhoods around the world face, we meet the Kenyan female athletes chasing glory – while seeking to upend the status quo.