5 December 1989 (age 26)
Kapsokwony, Mount Elgon District, Kenya
Linet Chepkwemoi Masai (born 5 December 1989) is a Kenyan long-distance runner who competes in track and cross country running events. She won her first world title in the 10,000 metres at the 2009 World Championships in Athletics.
Masai became the world junior cross country champion in 2007 and set a world junior record for the 10,000 metres at the 2008 Summer Olympics, placing fourth in the final. She was the runner-up at the IAAF World Cross Country Championships three times consecutively from 2009 to 2011. At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, she won her second world track medal, taking third in the 10,000 m.
Masai was born in Kapsokwony town, Mount Elgon District, and was raised in from Bugaa village, four kilometres away. Born to John Barasa Masai and Leonida Cherop, she is the fourth born out of ten children. She went to Kapsagom Primary School and then Bishop Okiring Secondary school from where she graduated in 2005. She started running in 2005, when her older brother Moses Ndiema Masai won 5000 and 10000 metres at the African Junior Championships, hoping she would emulate his success. Her younger siblings Dennis, Ndiema and Magdaline are also runners. Their father John Barasa Masai is also a former runner, while Ben Jipcho is their distant uncle. She is based at the PACE Sports Management training camp in Kaptagat.
She won the women's junior race at the 2007 IAAF World Cross Country Championships held in Mombasa, Kenya. She finished fourth at the Kenyan trials for the 2007 World Championships 5000 metres race, missing the ticket to Osaka. She did, however, compete at the 2007 IAAF World Athletics Final, achieving two fourth places (3000 and 5000 metres).
Her breakthrough year came in 2008. In the spring she won the bronze medal in the senior race at the 2008 World Cross Country Championships. In the summer she competed at the Olympic Games, finishing fourth in the 10,000 metres in a new world junior record of 30:26.50 minutes. The previous record (30:31.55) was set by Huina Xing of China in 2003. It was also a new Kenyan record, the previous record (30:30.26) was held by Edith Masai and was set in 2005. Masai's national record stood for less than a year, seince in June 2009 Florence Kiplagat posted 30:11.53 in Utrecht, the Netherlands
In August 2009, Masai narrowly defeated Meselech Melkamu of Ethiopia in the final of the 10,000 metres at the 2009 IAAF World Championships in Athletics held in Berlin, Germany. The reigning 10000 metres Olympic and word champion Tirunesh Dibaba was sidelined due to injury. She was also awarded the Race Results Weekly Female Runner of the Year award and the Kenyan Sportswoman of the Year award in 2009.
She began the buildup to her 2010 World Cross Country campaign with wins at the Cross Internacional Valle de Llodio and Cross Internacional de Soria, beating the rest of the field by some distance both times. A win at the Cross Internacional de Itálica shortly after demonstrated her dominance of the Spanish circuit that year. At the 2010 World Cross Country Championships, she started strongly and began to build up a lead in the final lap. However, Emily Chebet overtook her with a sprint finish to the race, leaving Masai as the runner-up for the second time in as many years.
Later on that year she made her debut at the NYRR New York Mini 10K – her first competition on American soil. Masai outran Emily Chebet in the road running event to take the victory in a time of 30:48. In August she signed up for the Women's 5K Challenge in London and comfortably beat Sylvia Kibet to win the race, reversing their positions from the previous year's competition. She entered the 10,000 m at the 2010 African Championships in Athletics but Tirunesh Dibaba defended her title while the Kenyan left with a bronze medal. At the Memorial van Damme (the final for the 2010 IAAF Diamond League) she finished third as compatriot Vivian Cheruiyot took the inaugural event title.
She opened her cross country season with a win at the Cross de l'Acier in November. She was the women's winner at the Great Edinburgh Cross Country in January 2011, but had to settle for second at the Cross de Itálica behind Cheruiyot. She defeated Cheruiyot to win at the Kenyan Cross Country Championships and set her eyes on the world title, saying that she remained bitter about not winning at the two previous competitions. History repeated itself for a third time for Masai at the 2011 IAAF World Cross Country Championships as she led early on but was pushed into second place by a Kenyan rival yet again in the form of a quick-finishing Cheruiyot. She repeated as New York Mini champion in June with half a minute to spare over runner-up Aheza Kiros.
On the 2011 IAAF Diamond League circuit she placed in the top three in Shanghai, Eugene, and the final in Zürich, but was someway behind Vivian Cheruiyot, who defended her 5000 m title. At the 2011 World Championships in Athletics, Masai entered both the 5000 m and 10,000 m events. Her attempted defence over the longer distance was thwarted by Cheruiyot: Masai was beaten into third place in a sprint finish, although this was part of a dominant Kenyan team which took the top four places. She was amid the leading pack in the 5000 m race, but was again out-sprinted in the final stretch, leaving her in sixth place.
Her cross country season began well as she won both the Cross de Atapuerca and Cross de Itálica by large margins. She finished behind Cheruiyot and Joyce Chepkirui at the World's Best 10K in February. She had a comfortable win at the Great Manchester Run in May. She failed to finish the Kenyan 10,000 m trial race in June, making it the first time since 2008 that she would not compete internationally in the event. A seventh-place finish in the 5000 m at the Kenyan Olympic trials meant that she would not compete at the Olympics in any event. She was third at the London Grand Prix in July – her only other 5000 m outing that year. She was runner-up at both the Cross de Atapuerca and the San Silvestre Vallecana.
|2007||World Cross Country Championships||Mombasa, Kenya||1st||Junior race|
|World Athletics Final||Stuttgart, Germany||4th||3000 m|
|2008||World Cross Country Championships||Edinburgh, Scotland||3rd||Senior race|
|Olympic Games||Beijing, China||4th||10,000 m|
|World Athletics Final||Stuttgart, Germany||5th||3000 m|
|2009||World Cross Country Championships||Amman, Jordan||2nd||Long race|
|World Championships||Berlin, Germany||1st||10,000 m|
|2010||World Cross Country Championships||Bydgoszcz, Poland||2nd||Senior race|
|2011||World Cross Country Championships||Punta Umbría, Spain||2nd||Senior race|
|World Championships in Athletics||Daegu, Korea||6th||5000 m|
- 3000 metres – 8:38.97 min (2007)
- 5000 metres – 14:31.14 min (2010)
- 10,000 metres – 30:26.50 min (2008)
- 10 kilometres – 30:48 min (2010)
- The Standard, 20 August 2009: Mt Elgon celebrates Masai’s triumph
- Daily Nation, 20 August 2009: For track marvels, it runs in the family
- The Standard, 23 March 2008: Wonder girl Masai heads to Edinburgh
- "Melkamu stuns with 29:53.80 run in Utrecht". IAAF. 15 June 2009. Retrieved 11 September 2009.
- "Masai, the year’s best". The Standard. 12 December 2009. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 12 December 2009.
- "Masai awarded". The Standard. 29 December 2009. Archived from the original on 14 March 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
- Valiente, Emeterio (29 November 2009). "Comfortable victories for Gebremariam and Masai in Soria". IAAF. Archived from the original on 2 December 2009. Retrieved 29 November 2009.
- Valiente, Emeterio (17 January 2010). "Komon takes down Gebremariam, business as usual for Masai in Seville". IAAF. Archived from the original on 21 January 2010. Retrieved 31 January 2010.
- Johnson, Len (28 March 2010). "Chebet's strong finish prevails – Women's Senior race report – Bydgoszcz". IAAF. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Masai dominates Central Park 10K". IAAF/New York Road Runners. 13 June 2010. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Brown, Matthew (5 September 2010). "Masai wins 5k Challenge in London". IAAF. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Negash, Elshadai (31 July 2010). "Dibaba takes down Masai in 10,000m to notch first Ethiopian gold in Nairobi – African champs, day 4". IAAF. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Martin, Dave (27 August 2010). Overview Disciplines – 27.08.2010 – 3000m / 5000m – Women. Diamond League. Retrieved 29 November 2010.[dead link]
- Ramsak, Bob (29 November 2010). "Ebuya and Masai take comfortable victories at Cross de l’Acier". IAAF. Archived from the original on 1 December 2010. Retrieved 29 November 2010.
- Wenig, Jörg (8 January 2011). "Kipchoge and Masai prevail in snowy Edinburgh". IAAF. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Valiente, Emeterio (16 January 2011). "Komon defends, Cheruiyot edges Masai in Seville". IAAF. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2011.
- Mutuota, Mutwiri (19 February 2011). "Mutai and Masai take hard fought wins in Nairobi; reigning World champs Ebuya and Chebet won’t defend". IAAF. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Johnson, Len (20 March 2011). "Cheruiyot wins race of champions – Women's Senior Race Report – Punta Umbria 2011". IAAF. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "Masai Repeats in New York 10Km". IAAF/NYRR. 11 June 2011. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- "2011 IAAF Diamond League Standings". IAAF. 16 September 2011. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011. Retrieved 16 November 2011.
- Johnson, Len (27 August 2011). "Women's 10,000m Final – Cheruiyot leads Kenyan 1–2–3–4 (!) finish". IAAF. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Valiente, Emeterio (13 November 2011). "Merga and Masai confirm supremacy in Atapuerca as IAAF Cross Country Permit season kicks off". IAAF. Archived from the original on 14 November 2011. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
- Valiente, Emeterio (15 January 2012). "Kipsang and Masai reign in rainy Seville". IAAF. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Robinson, Javier Clavelo (27 February 2012). "Kitwara and Cheruiyot run to triple crown in San Juan 10Km". IAAF. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Wenig, Jörg (20 May 2012). "Gebrselassie takes another strong 10k victory in Manchester". IAAF. Retrieved 29 April 2016.
- Mutwiri, Mutuota (15 June 2012). "Cheruiyot takes Kenyan 10,000m Olympic Trials race in Nairobi". IAAF. Archived from the original on 16 June 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2012.
- Mutuota, Mutwiri (23 June 2012). "Rudisha runs 1:42.12 at altitude – Kenyan Olympic Trials". IAAF. Archived from the original on 28 June 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
- van Hemert, Wim (18 November 2012). "Dibaba and Kipkemboi prevail in Nijmegen 15K". IAAF. Retrieved 17 February 2013.