payday for Edith Masai
Steven Downes for the IAAF
24 March 2002 – Dublin, Ireland - Kenya’s Edith Masai
enjoyed the biggest pay-day of her brief running career on Sunday, when she collected
$34,000 prize money after winning the women’s short-course race at the iaaf/sport Ireland
World Cross-country Championships here on Sunday.
The event also rewarded the hosts’ efforts in staging the
two-day event, when the Irish women’s team, led by seventh-placed Sonia O’Sullivan, won
Masai, a 34-year-old prison warder and mother, out-kicked
Ethiopia’s Werknesh Kidane to finish the 4km event in 13min 30sec, six seconds clear of
The bronze medal went to early leader Isabella Ochichi,
of Kenya (13:39).
Masai, the bronze medallist in Ostend a year ago, only
took up running in 1999 to help support her small son after she had split from her
But the biggest cheer of the weekend was reserved for
another mother among the race’s front-runners.
Local heroine O’Sullivan, the double champion from 1998,
finished in 13:55. The race came just 13 weeks after she had given birth to her second
O’Sullivan’s brave effort, and that of her team mate Anne
Keenan-Buckley, who finished 10th after being roared on by the estimated 7,000
spectators packed in the grandstands of the racecourse, saw Ireland get team bronze medals
by a single point, 85 to 86 from Russia.
Ethiopia took team gold and Kenya silver.
“I knew everybody in the crowd wanted Sonia to win,”
Masai said, “but this championship has come too soon for her.
“If the championships were held one month later, I know
Sonia would have got a medal, maybe even gold,” said Masai.
“The atmosphere was electric and one of the most
enjoyable races of my life. I am delighted to improve on my bronze of last year.”
Kidane, too, enjoyed her Dublin experience. “Everytime I
ran in front of the stand I got goose bumps because the noise was so loud,” said the
silver medallist. “It inspired me to run faster.”