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An enlightening biography and gripping sports narrative that takes us behind the scenes into the lives of some of the world’s most elite runners in Kenya and their coach, Patrick Sang.
"I highly recommend this book." —Meb Keflezighi
At a secluded training camp in Kaptagat, Kenya, a small town nearly 8,000 feet above sea level in the Great Rift Valley, three-dozen world-class runners, including Olympic champions, world record holders and the fastest marathoner of all-time, share simple dormitory-style rooms and endure grueling workouts six days a week.
These determined, devoted, and selfless runners are who they are because of a man named Patrick Sang. One of the greatest—and least-heralded coaches in the sport—Sang is described by his athletes as a “life coach.”
In We Share the Sun, Sarah Gearhart takes us inside this high-octane world of elites of which few are even aware of and even fewer have ever seen. We are immersed in Sang’s remarkable story, from his college days in the US to winning an Olympic medal in the steeplechase, and his journey to become a man who redefines what coaching means. There is no singular secret to athletic success, but, as readers will learn, Sang’s holistic philosophy is like no other approach in the world. It is rooted in developing athletes who can navigate the pressures of elite competition—and life itself.
In these pages, we explore Sang’s influence on his athletes — including his unique and longstanding relationship with marathon world record holder Eliud Kipchoge — as they prepared for the delayed Tokyo Olympics and other competitions. We witness the remarkable recovery of two-time New York City Marathon champion Geoffrey Kamworor after a freak accident as he strove to earn his first Olympic medal. And we follow one of the world’s most dominant mid-distance runners, Faith Kipyegon, as she attempted a historic repeat title in the 1,500 meters three years after the birth of her first child.
We Share the Sun brings forth the remarkable lives and stories of East African runners, whose stories are seldom shared. Through Gearhart's vivid prose, we experience the richness that exists in Kenya as we come as close as we possibly can to running alongside a current and future generation of elites—and the man who molds them into champions.
Sarah Gearhart is a sportswriter based in New York City. Formerly a senior producer at USA TODAY Sports Media, her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, ESPN, Runner's World, Vice Sports and Victory Journal. An avid runner for twenty-one years (and counting), she has qualified for the Boston Marathon five times and has completed fourteen marathons.
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"An engaging book for those who want to explore the structural, social, and relational foundations of Kenyan elite marathoners. Compelling and accessible, I found Gearhart’s guidance through this world captivating." Nicholas Triolo, Outside
"Gifted sports journalist Gearhart’s account of the fabulous success of Kenyan distance runners focuses on Sang and his world-class training program. Gearhart shares rare insight into the coach and his methods, which emphasize helping runners achieve their full athletic potential as well as developing them into humans with a 'strong moral compass.' Running fans and coaches will surely draw inspiration from this humble coach who rewards effort, imparts life lessons, and shares uplifting holistic philosophy.” Booklist, starred review
"A fascinating ode to all a coach can offer beyond holding the stopwatch. Eliud Kipchoge calls Patrick Sang a ‘life coach,’ a man who confesses to speaking in parables and who sees his job being to shape the whole person, not just the athlete. Like Sang’s coaching vision, this book contains wisdom that extends far beyond the track." Michael Crawley, author of Out of Thin Air: Running Wisdom and Magic from Above the Clouds in Ethiopia
“By turns moving and insightful, We Share the Sun is the fascinating story of one of the world’s greatest coaches as well as a window into rural Kenya and how the way of life has given rise to one of the most dominant sporting cultures on the planet. Patrick Sang is a man full of wisdom and compassion. It’s a joy to read his story.” Adharanand Finn, author of Running with the Kenyans and The Rise of the Ultra Runners
“‘Life is like water poured on the ground. It naturally finds its course.’ Patrick Sang’s life journey as a humble and hard-working man who gives back is beautifully illustrated, and I highly recommend the book.”
Meb Keflezighi, Four-time Olympian, New York City and Boston Marathon Champion, and New York Times bestselling author
"More than his staggering success as a coach, it’s Patrick Sang’s thoughtful approach to personal development—to finding each athlete’s Why—that shines through in Gearhart’s charming and deeply reported account.”
Alex Hutchinson, Ph.D., National Magazine Award-winning journalist, author of Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance
"In prose as elegant as the strides of the athletes she describes, Sarah Gearhart takes us deep within the monastic world of elite Kenyan runners and their mentor Patrick Sang. Her unhurried inspection brings to life the determination, dedication, and urgency to succeed. It’s a captivating study of striving at the highest level and will inspire anyone to press on no matter the challenges that confront them.” Toni Reavis, U.S. broadcaster, writer and recipient of the George Hirsch Journalism Award
"Sarah Gearhart unravels the secrets behind the coaching of the best athletes in the world. Anyone who cares about performing at your best should read this book. The stories are captivating, and the lessons are invaluable.” Steve Magness, world-renowned performance coach and author of The Science of Running and Do Hard Things
“I enjoyed reading Sarah Gearhart’s We Share the Sun about Coach Patrick Sang’s leadership role in Kenyan athletics. It was interesting to learn how Sang’s experiences while a scholarship college student in the US influenced him, especially the strong bond with his own coach. Gearhart reveals Coach Sang’s discipline with his athletes alongside the emphasis on hard work. Runners can learn so much from this book!” Bill Rodgers, Olympian, four-time winner of the Boston marathon, four-time consecutive winner of the New York City marathon
"The great Eliud Kipchoge is a man without equal in the sport of running. Or so I thought before I read We Share the Sun, Sarah Gearhart’s captivating biography of Kipchoge’s charismatic longtime coach Patrick Sang.” Matt Fitzgerald, author of On Pace, 80/20 Running and Running the Dream