Masai to run in Italy

Linet Masai. Photo/ (KENYA)
Linet Masai. Photo/ (KENYA)

Linet set to be star attraction at the 59th Campaccio cross country

Former 10,000 meter world champion Linet Masai will be the star attraction at the 59th Campaccio International Cross country in Italy on January 6.

Masai has been in good form winning two good quality races in Spain in Soria and Alcobendas last month.

Masai faces 2015 All Africa Games 10,000m champion Alice Aprot, USA’s Nicole Bush and Great Britain’s Lily Partridge are other well-known international runners who will make their way to the town of San Giorgio su Legnano.

The Italian challenge in the women’s race will be led by Federica Del Buono and Veronica Inglese.

In the mens category Olympic 5000 meter bronze medallist Thomas Longosiwa faces a tough task in winning the event. Longosiwa is not a prolific cross country runner – not racing in any international cross country races in 2013 and 2014 – and it is far from his favourite surface but he has a fondness for Italian races as his only international cross country wins have come here, such as at the 2012 Cinque Mulini event and also the 2011 Rovereto race.

Longosiwa faces Kenayn born Bahrain athalate and 2014 winner Albert Rop. The first IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting of 2016 will also feature Ethiopia’s impressive IAAF world cross country Guiyang 2015 junior men’s champion Yasin Haji, a championship where Rop finished 11th in the senior men’s race.

Elsewhere Defending champion Thomas Ayeko of Uganda and newly crowned European under-23 cross-country champion Louise Carton are the latest athletes to sign up for the Antrim International Cross Country, an IAAF Cross Country Permit meeting, on 16 January.

Ayeko was a convincing winner in Antrim at the start of 2015, making an early break before going on to win by 13 seconds. It was his second victory at the Greenmount estate, having also won in 2013.

Since then, he went on to set a half marathon PB of 1:01:12 in Azpeitia in March and then came within two seconds of that to finish fifth in a high-quality race at the Great North Run in September. More recently, he made his marathon debut with a 2:12:17 clocking in Rennes.

Carton has gone from strength to strength this year. The 21-year-old has smashed all of her PBs on the track in 2015 and last week defeated a quality field to win the under-23 title at the European Cross Country Championships in Hyeres.

In Antrim she will be lining up against 2013 world 10,000m bronze medallist Belaynesh Oljira and world junior cross-country bronze medallist Etagegn Woldu.