Ian Kiprono is The Heart of Kenyan Running’s resource and assistant coach, Training and Cultural Program assistant designer
When talking about Ian Kiprono the association to his name comes naturally: a place, St-Patrick’s High School Iten (Keiyo District, Rift Valley Province in Kenya) and a legendary coach, the Irish missionary Patrician Brother Colm O’ Connell.
Before introducing Ian himself a short presentation of St-Patrick’s school and Brother O’ Colm is therefore necessary.
St-Patrick’s and Brother Colm O’ Connell
If Iten is the heart of Kenyan running, the most famous Home of Champions in the world, St-Patrick’s can well be considered the heart of Iten: it was founded in 1961 by the Patrician Brothers missionaries who travelled from Ireland to Kenya and it operates as a Boys Boarding school for about 500 students from throughout the rural district.
Brother Colm arrived in Kenya in 1976, when he became a teacher at St-Patrick’s school. He started coaching athletics in 1986, he kept going and in 1989 he started a junior training program for school kids, both boys and grils, which is there to date. Brother Colm is known nowadays as the “Godfather of Kenyan running”.
Up to now 25 of his students have become world champions while five have won Olympic gold medals. His students have included Edna Kiplagat, Lornah Kiplagat, Mary Keitany, Ibrahim Kipkemboi Hussein, Peter Rono, Matthew Birir, Sammy Tirop, Haron Lagat, Janeth Jepkosgei, Viola Kibiwott, Brimin Kipruto, Joseph Tengelei, Isaac Songok, Wilson Boit, Vivian Cheruiyot, Michael Kipyego, Augustine Kiprono Choge, Wilson Kipketer and David Rudisha.
Ian Kiprono and St-Patrick’s
Raising and coaching future champions Borther Colm started looking for training methods that would make a major difference rather than only produce incremental improvements. Therefore he decided to look at exercise work, core, strength, pilates and to someone who could develop those aspects so that they could have an impact on the way the runners relate to the ground and push off it.
That is when Ian Kiprono, a local former gymnast specialised in pilates and stretching techniques, became O’Connell’s assistant by implementing many of his new ideas.
Brother Colm was able to channel Ian’s talent into developing something extremely useful, not to say essential, which would have implemented the training of the upcoming runners to make them champions.
Ian was able to our into practice Brother Colm ideas and that is how he has grown professionally year after year up to become one of the most qualified and talented coach raising up talents in Kenya.
Ian Kiprono and The Heart of Kenyan Running
Looking for a special person who could have completed our staff team giving a precious contribution to the designing of the training and cultural program for the guests of The Heart of Kenyan Running, cofounder of the company Timo Limo had no hesitation in contacting Ian.
We needed someone who could share our approach and understand the aim of the running camps: taking foreign guests to Kenya to show them the real “heart” of running, what there is behind the world famous champions, which hardships the upcoming athletes have to face, how they grow up and how they live, what the real everyday life in Kenya is…
No one else better than Ian, who is part of the heart of running in Iten and who has already given a great personal contribution to Kenyan running and coaching, thanks to his talent and to his daily work with the young athletes at St-Patrick’s, could have taken the role as resource coach for The Heart of Kenyan Running camps.
Ian will help us to design the details of the daily program for our guests, selecting specific places in the surrounding area of Iten which may help each guest discover what the “heart” of running truly is in Kenya. Ian will also assist the guests checking their training program together with Head Coach Timo Limo.