Ever wondered why the Black Athletes from the East African Countries lap up almost all the marathons across the world and Gold and Silver at Olympics while other advanced countries with their superior training and nutrition facilities are nowhere near them,lets find that out.
Many researchers across the world may suggest that its the genetic composition that might be the reason behind it but can only genetics be attributed towards the enormous and surprising success of the Black athletes and the answer is surprisingly no.
If we look at the Medal tally in the Olympic then it it clear that the concentration of the winners is fairly localized although the athletes may be representing various other countries and not their country of birth where they do not have access to good training facilities and have to prove their mettle before they get offers from the developed countries.
Genetics can be attributed as a factor to dominate the space but there are other factors which we believe have given them a chance to move ahead in life and show the world their mettle and the factor the often suggest is extensive walking and running the people undergo from an early age to and from school in the absence of travelling options and ofcourse money ,and the distance covered can easily to upfrom 4-5 kms to even as high as 15-18 kms per day.
However, this does not appear to result in a higher maximal aerobic capacity (a key determinant of endurance performance) than that seen in European long distance runners.
A lot of the elite Kenyan and Ethiopian distance runners were born and raised at altitudes of around 6-8,000 ft (around 2,000-2,500 metres).
This may lead to a good levels of haemoglobin (a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen throughout the body) and haematocrit (the volume of red blood cells in the blood).
This in turn leads to an increased ability to transport oxygen to the working muscles.
While living at such altitudes may not alone be the reason for success but it appears that East African athletes also have the ability to train at high-intensity while at altitude.
This is something most of the athletes without continual altitude exposure would find difficult to replicate.
Iten and Addis Ababa are the key training sites for Kenyan and Ethiopian distance runners respectively – both sit at around 7,800 ft (2,400m) above sea level.
it seems logical to assume that prolonged altitude exposure and the their ability to train at high-intensity at higher altitude may contribute in part to the success of East African distance runners.
Another reason often suggested for their African dominance in distance running is the motivation they have in order to achieve economic success and in relatively poor countries, success in lucrative distance running events can considerably advance any athlete’s position in social terms.We still can’t say conclusively what is behind the phenomenal success of the African distance runners.
But research suggests there is unlikely to be a single genetic factor that can explain their success but its the rare combination of an optimal body type – leading to excellent biomechanical efficiency – may well play a part, alongside the runners’ prolonged exposure to altitude and psychological motivation to succeed and we hope to see a lot more people coming out inspired to achieve their dreams of coming out of poverty and enhance there strata in the society and family while earning their livelihood from the sport.