Magdalyne Masai of Kenya has announced she will race STWM on October 20, and she is in it for a podium finish and a personal best. Though it will be the 25-year-old’s first time racing in Canada, she comes from a family of successful distance runners who grew up in the Rift Valley, and is married to Jake Robertson, former New Zealand marathon record-holder and fifth-place finisher at STWM 2018. So she has a pretty good idea of what to expect.
Masai finished second at last year’s Hamburg Marathon, setting a personal best of 2:26:04. It was only her second marathon, and she hopes to run 2:22 or 2:23 in Toronto. (She won her first marathon, in Hefei, China, in 2:28:22.) She’ll have some serious competition from the other female elites who toe the line, but as her husband has no doubt told her, anything can happen. (Last year’s winner was Mimi Belete in 2:22, a course record, on a chilly, windy day in Toronto.)
Masai’s sister, Linet, ran 2:23 in her debut marathon in Amsterdam last year. Linet was the world champion in the 10,000m in Berlin in 2009, and their brother Moses won bronze in the men’s race at the same world championships. They also have two younger brothers who are making names for themselves.
Magz, as she is known, and Robertson met in Iten, where Robertson and his twin brother Zane (who took the New Zealand marathon record from his brother at this year’s Gold Coast Marathon) have lived and trained since leaving high school. He proposed to her at the finish line of the 2017 Great North Run in the UK, and they got married last year.
They run together only occasionally, however, since Masai prefers to train with other women who run at her pace.