I just returned to Nairobi after two days with Dagens Nyheter’s Africa correspondent Erik Esbjörnsson in Iten, working on a few stories about the town and the runners.

Iten is a small Kenyan town that has produced more world champion runners than any other place on this planet.The combination of high altitude, extreme motivation (winning a European marathon can earn a runner more money than his family could be making in a lifetime), and very hard work – most runners in Iten run around 20km per day, year round.

It’s really impressive to see what these athletes put themselves through to reach the levels they are at. It proves that with the right motivation anything can be achieved. Sad that in this case the motivation is poverty – but the runners who make it definitely inspire lots of others to make better lives for themselves, and unlike many western athletes they seem to handle their newly won fortunes very wisely – investing in family farms and small businesses in their hometown. One of the runners we met – Helen Kimutai, a five time Marathon winner had to excuse herself to go work in her corn field after I took her portraits.

Watch out for the stories from Iten that we’ll present here shortly,  for now I’ll leave you with a frame from the Kamariny Stadium – the primitive dirt track in Iten where sheep graze and kids come watch the athletes and dream of becoming the next Olympic Marathon winners. As it happened –  as I was shooting this- right outside this track Kenyan wildlife authorities were trying to trap a leopard that killed one of the sheep the night before.