Adharanand Finn | Japanese Ekiden, Kenyan Marathoners, and the Rise of Ultrarunners

Adharanand Finn has lived with the elite Kenyan runners in Iten, he’s trained in Japan while learning about the famously cut-throat Ekiden races, and he’s now turning his attention to the burgeoning ultramarathon scene.

adharanand finn
Adharanand Finn working out with Kenyan runners in Iten.

In this interview, we talk about:

  • The cultural and social influences on the Japanese distance running scene. For a country so steeped in the tradition of “work harder“, how do runners adjust to modern coaching techniques of “have fun and take a rest day”?
  • The incredible depth of Japanese runners and performances.
  • How does the Kenyan running scene differ from that in the US or Japan? What did he learn from them, and will we see any Kenyans tearing up the international ultra scene en masse? 
    • What does he expect to happen if two Kenyans line up at Lake Sonoma this April.
  • For a guy who got into ultrarunning less than two years ago (and has already nabbed a ticket to UTMB!), what did he learn during his time with Zach Miller or with the elites in Marin Country, California?
Adharanand Finn
Adharanand Finn running an Ekiden in Kyoto.

There are a tremendous amount of topics to cover with Finn, and if you want to dig deeper, check out any of his best selling books below. Please consider purchasing them through these affiliate links on Amazon. Thanks!

Running with the Kenyans: Passion, Adventure, and the Secrets of the Fastest People on Earth

The Way of the Runner: A Journey into the Fabled World of Japanese Running

Episode Sponsor: Mt Baker Ultra

A-ha! I figured you’d want to hear more about this unique event! The Mt. Baker Ultra is a kind of race where trail running, ultrarunning, and mountaineering intersect and form an event that picks up where the race dropped off over one hundred years ago. More info right this way.

adharanand finn

Articles and Topics Mentioned in the Adharanand Finn Interview:

Here’s the recent piece in the Guardian: Why don’t Kenyans Run Ultramarathons

Here’s Jason Koop’s article about the growth of the sport.

Be sure to follow him on the Twitter machine here. He’s the only guy I know who’s got his first name as his twitter handle!

Here’s the Kenyafornia fundraising site. I’m in for $50! Help out so we can see Risper and Francis line up with Jim, Patrick, Kaci, Caroline and other US elites at Lake Sonoma in April.

I took a few questions from the Patreon crowd. If you’d like to support the work on this site, please consider throwing a few bucks my way each month. It adds up and I appreciate it!

Interested in joining the Kenyans and Adharanand at a running camp in Iten? More info here.

Outro music by AJ LeGrand. Find his music and tour info right this way.

Adharanand Finn
Adharanand Finn and Dean Karnazes in California








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