Iten

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Iten
Iten is located in Kenya
Iten
Iten
Location in Kenya
Coordinates: 0°40′23″N 35°30′30″E / 0.67306°N 35.50833°E / 0.67306; 35.50833Coordinates: 0°40′23″N 35°30′30″E / 0.67306°N 35.50833°E / 0.67306; 35.50833
Country  Kenya
County Elgeyo-Marakwet County
Elevation 2,400 m (7,900 ft)
Population (2009)
 • Total 42,312 [1]
Time zone EAT (UTC+3)

Iten is a town in Elgeyo-Marakwet County of Kenya. It is located along the road between Eldoret and Kabarnet. Elgeyo escarpment and Kerio River are located east of Iten. The town has a population of 42,312 [2]. Iten is the capital and largest town of Elgeyo-Marakwet County.

It forms a common local authority (Iten/Tambach town council) with Tambach, a small town in the vicinity. Iten was the headquarters of the former Elgeyo-Marakwet District since 1966, when it replaced Tambach.[2]

The name of the town is a corruption of Hill Ten, a local rock formation named by Joseph Thomson in 1883.[2] The hill is located 800 meters outside the village, on the road toward Kessup. It can be best viewed from the Iten Viewpoint.

Iten's Hill Ten

The mayor of Iten is Mary Ruto (as of 2009), one of the few female mayors in Kenya.[2]

Naming[edit]

The name is a local corruption of Hill Ten, a local rock formation that was named by Joseph Thompson in 1883. [3]

He inscribed the words Hill Ten on a rock while exploring the Kerio Valley to mark the number of hills he had conquered.

The hill is located about 800 metres outside the main town, on the road toward Kessup.

Running community[edit]

St. Patrick's High School is located in Iten. The school has, over the last 30 years, produced world-class long distance athletes. Alumni include Ibrahim Hussein, winner of three Boston Marathons and one New York City Marathon; Peter Rono, a 1988 Olympic gold medalist at 1,500 meters; Wilson Boit Kipketer, a 1997 world champion and 2000 Olympic silver medalist in the 3,000-meter steeplechase; Matthew Birir, 1992 Olympic gold medalist at the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and David Rudisha, 2012 Olympic gold medalist and world record holder at 800m. The coach of these athletes, Brother Colm O'Connell of Ireland, came to Iten in 1976 expecting to stay just three months. He has lived in Iten ever since.

Many athletes, including Rudisha, and world champions Edna Kiplagat, Florence Kiplagat, Lornah Kiplagat, Linet Masai, and Mary Keitany have made homes in Iten. O'Connell is credited in starting the influx of female athletes to Iten in the early 1990s when he trained and hosted World Champion Sally Barsosio, Rose Cheruiyot, and world junior champion Lydia Cheromei (all of whom lived in O'Connell's back garden outhouses).

Each Christmas Eve the town plays host to the largest women's-only race in Kenya, The Shoe4Africa 5 km. It was in the 2006 edition of this race that world champion Mary Keitany begun her athletics career.[4]

The town hosts the high altitude training centre, HATC, founded in 1999 by Lornah Kiplagat and Pieter Langerhorst. Other landmarks include the Kerio View Hotel founded in 1995 by Jean Paul Fourier. In 2012 the World Record holder in marathon (second fastest at that time) Wilson Kipsang, opened the Keeluu Resort; a lodging, conference and dining center.

Iten is a featured location in Adharanand Finn's 2012 book Running With The Kenyans. Finn spent several months living and training as a runner in the city. The book More Fire by Toby Tanser, 2008, was written in and based on Iten, as was Tanser's earlier book Train Hard, Win easy.

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://kenya.usaid.gov/sites/default/files/profiles/Elgeyo%20Marakwet_Dec2011%2021.pdf
  2. ^ a b c The Standard, March 11, 2009: Scenic town continues to churn out refined athletes
  3. ^ MORRIS KIRUGA. Daily Nation. How local dialects influenced naming of west Kenya towns. 23 July 2013 [1]
  4. ^ Runner's World Racing News

External links[edit]