Raise the subject of long-distance running with a non-runner and see what happens. Go on, I dare you. If their response doesn’t peter out after recapping the highlights of their mate’s mum’s seven-hour marathon and reliving the beardy scenes from Forrest Gump, it’s nigh-on guaranteed they’ll tell you about “the Kenyans”. In bemused, overawed tones, they’ll parrot truisms about howKenyans dominate race after race in seemingly “unbeatable” fashion. You’d be forgiven for thinking that, on the world stage, running has become a one-country race. Except it hasn’t.

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