That’s not what an article by Max Fisher in the Atlantic is trying to say. In a widely-circulated article (within running circles) trying to unearth why Kenyans swept the Boston Marathon this past weekend, he essentially sums it up as a genetic advantage by the “bird-like” bodies of the Kalenjin ethnic group. Before you bash me for not reading the article, he does make some good caveats about the myth of them running 6 miles to school, uphill both ways every morning, etc. Alex Hutchinson at Runner’s World puts together a decent rebuttal for the evidence presented by Max here, as did the lovely people at letsrun.com but I won’t bore you with all that reading here. What will I do instead? How about pictures? I like pictures.
I feel like it comes down to a perfect storm of three factors: Genetics, Environment, and Incentives
So if you're wondering when can the white man rise back up again to dominate the distance runner landscape? The famous running coach Renato Canova, summed it up really well: "The dominance of African is due to their talent, but also to the fact white athletes disappeared. And the solution is not to look at Africa too much, but to look at our young generation, creating again interest in running and organising a different type of life."
In case you are wondering, I did make the majority of this post in Powerpoint. I was a world-class consultant, after all.