7 High-Altitude Running Camps in Kenya to Train Like an Elite

Kenya, known as the Cradle of Humanity, is also the birthplace of some of the world’s best runners ever. From the running culture to the iconic landscape, it only makes sense that runners from around the world would be flocking to East Africa to train.

To help you find the right Kenya running camp for you, we’re going to first share what’s valuable about this kind of run training, then break down some of the best options for different kinds of runners. We’ll hit on the best overall running camp in Kenya, budget, flexibility, and even suggest a run safari, too!

After all, you can’t go all the way out to Kenya without a little adventure, so read on and get ready to lace up.

Benefits of a Running Training Camp Kenya

Running Camps in Kenya offer high-altitude training with epic views.
Unsplash, Sergey Pesterev
  1. Altitude training

Runners looking to level up often search for high-altitude training destinations. In environments roughly 8,000 feet above sea level or higher, we take in less oxygen per breath, meaning each breath delivers less oxygen to our muscles. Soon, our muscles adapt and we can then perform better during races at lower altitude when we’ve got all that extra oxygen to work with. 

So, why Kenya? It just so happens that Iten, Kenya is home to Kenya’s High Altitude Training Centre at an altitude of 7,850 feet, making it one of the best places on earth to practice endurance sports like trail running. Plus, its consistent temperatures — monthly averages fluctuate between 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit — make running year-round easy. 

  1. World-class trainers and athletes

Unless you live in one of the U.S. running meccas like Arizona, Oregon, or Colorado, your exposure to world-class athletes and coaches may be almost none. With a run training camp in Kenya, you’ll have access to one, if not both, on a daily basis. 

Not only will your regular training runs have you shoulder-to-shoulder with fellow athletes, many of the training camps we’ve found employ coaches with international certifications and international successes.

  1. Commitment

When you run at home, you have to carve out the time from your day. Maybe it’s the first thing you do before getting the kids ready for school, maybe it’s your lunchtime routine, or maybe you seize the day on the weekends.

The benefits of a running training camp in Kenya is having an environment that’s dedicated to running. Instead of fitting runs into your day, your day is built around your run.

Costs of a Running Training Camp Kenya

All-inclusive run training camps in Kenya cost between $40 and $100 per day. A weeklong run training camp in Kenya can cost between $210 and $1,200. Those prices often cover accommodation, meals, coaching, and more. A comparable run retreat in the United States can cost $2,000-4,000 for a week or less.

Run holidays in Kenya, on the other hand, can cost up to $5,800 and are often less focused on pure training, with optional adventures like safaris, visits to elephant orphanages, and more. 

Though a run training camp will not be as luxurious, it is still a once-in-a-lifetime way to train while seeing a new part of the world.

Best Running Camp In Kenya, Overall

The Kenya Experience by Running Trips allows runners to train like elite marathoners.
Running Trips

The gold standard for running camps here is The Kenya Experience by Running Trips. These well-planned, two-week long running trips in Kenya offer track workouts and dirt rail adventures, cultural exchanges, runs with Kenyan pros, and expert coaching.

Offered roughly four times per year, these two week camps cost between $1,350 and $1,550 to attend. They include the camp, full board and accommodation, coaching, and activities at the High Altitude Training Center in Iten.

Plus, their bookings are 100% transferable. As runners, we know all too well the threat of a random injury throwing off our plans. With the Kenya Experience, you can rest easily and transfer your booking within 12 months to a future camp.

Best Running Camp In Kenya on a Budget

With shared room rates as low as $29 and a one-week minimum stay, the Kenyan Athletics Training Academy’s Distance Runners Training Center is one of the most affordable running camps in Kenya.

Located in Thika, Kenya at 4,937 feet, the Kenyan Athletics Training Academy hosts and trains both Kenyan and non-Kenyan runners.

The camp offers world-class training programs starting at 800m and going up to 50k, ultramarathons, and beyond.

The prices for the camp are based on the type of room. Currently, there are three room types available:

  • Shared Rooms – Rooms shared by four to six runners, separated by gender. For non-Kenyans, the cost is $29 with a one-week minimum.
  • Private Rooms – One to two per room with one double bed. The cost is $46 per night, with a second guest paying $14 per night with a one-week minimum.
  • Superior Rooms – One to three per room. The cost is $72 per night, with a second or third guest paying $15 USD per night each with a one-week minimum.

Best Safari Running Camp In Kenya

Trail Run Adventures offers a running camp in Kenya through a safari.
Trail Run Adventures

If you don’t want to choose between a running camp in Kenya and a safari, you’re in luck. With Trail Run Adventures’ Trail Run Kenya trip, you’ll enjoy a 14-day safari across Kenya with runs with some of the most unbelievable backdrops in East Africa.

For runners looking to beyond Iten, you’ll enjoy:

  • Running Ngong Hills (10-15k)
  • Running to Mau Mau Caves in Mt. Kenya Forest
  • Hike (9km/860m+) to Judmaier Camp/Old Moses Camp
  • Hike 7 hours (14km) to Shipton’s Camp 
  • Day hike to Oblong and Hausberg tarns
  • Summit Point Lenana, one of Mt. Kenya’s peaks
  • Trail run in Nyeri Aberdare area
  • Trail run at Nyahururu High Altitude Training Center
  • Masai Mara plains run

All those runs are paired alongside game drives, boat rides, bird watching, and more for a complete Kenya experience.

Best Kenya Running Camp for Student Athletes

For American student athletes, Strive Kenya is a 21-day service and athletics trip to Kenya. This trip combines 35-45 hours of service with daily athletics and safari fun into one three-week program.

The service portion of the trip begins with learning more about the community, involving in cultural exchanges with Kenyan students, assisting with exam and essay prep for college, and potentially organizing a community sports event.

The athletic portion is equally geared towards runners who want to take advantage of the High Altitude Training Centre in Iten, Kenya as it is toward other athletes, as they’ll have access to a pool, soccer fields, a basketball hoop, and more.

Finally, the adventure portion will include a trip to the Rift Valley, a boat tour in Lake Baringo, a game drive in the Masai Mara Game Reserve – to name just a few!

For U.K-based student athletes, the Kenya Experience also offers school group training.

Most Flexible Running Training Camp In Kenya

To book a running training camp in Kenya that fits perfectly with your schedule, the RUN’IX Athletic Center in Iten, Kenya offers a great combination of availability and accessibility.

Prices are broken down by length of stay, and include accommodation, four meals a day, weekly laundry cleaning, and free access to the fitness room:

  • Stays of 10 days or less are $50 per day
  • Stays from 11 days to 20 days are $45 per day
  • Stays of 21 days or more are $40 per day

This running camp in Kenya is built around you. While there is no coach on site to lead your training, you will be free to discuss and train with everyone else at the camp. As RUN’IX says, even with different training levels, the group moves, trains, and lives together every day.

Best Single-Day Run Training In Kenya

Go! Running Tours Train with Kenyans puts on one of the best running camps.
Go! Running Tours

If you’ve got an extra day on your trip to Kenya, squeeze in an intense training session with Go Running Tours. 

Their 15km Train With Kenyans – Ngong Hills workout will have you running at 2,200m above sea level as you take in views of Nairobi and the plains of the Maasai lands. Enjoy the atmosphere of training with some of the world’s best with an adaptable half-day run that fits your skill level and schedule.

Running Holidays in Kenya

As we mentioned earlier, Kenya running holidays are also a way to get an exposure to the Kenya running community in a slightly less intense way. One of the leaders in this style of run travel trip is Rogue Expeditions. They’re currently offering  a week-long Kenya run trip in September, 2024.

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