Iten is a “semi-mythical” town in western Kenya, famous for the number of runners who were born there, or moved to train there, who have gone on to become Olympic champions or world-record holders.
Shamil Tanna’s series Runners of Iten uses an intimate, intricately detailed style to document the next generation of runners aiming to prove the town’s mythology to be true. It shows what life is like there for the runners, capturing them on early morning trail runs, sharing dinner with fellow runners at night, and hints at what motivates them. “They run for their tribe, their community, their country,” says Tanna. “But most of all they run for the possibilities of the future. Every step of the way, they are pushed closer to that future by the community of runners who run alongside them.”