HOKA NAZ Elite announced today that they have added Kenyan, Alex Masai, to its roster. Masai, finished a very strong sixth in the 10,000m and 10th in the 5,000m at the 2021 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Masai comes from a family of professional distance runners including his brother Moses who took fourth at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the 10,000m event. His sister Linet was the 10,000m gold medallist at the 2009 Berlin World Athletics Championships.
In 2020, NAZ Elite, announced a new, multi-year agreement with its title sponsor, HOKA ONE ONE®, a division of Deckers Brands (NYSE: DECK). They added Masai to a group that includes a number of other recent college graduates including Matt Baxter and Tyler Day from Northern Arizona University, Rory Linkletter from BYU, and Alice Wright of New Mexico.
WELCOME to @HOKAONEONE NAZ Elite Alex Masai (@realmasai)!! Alex is from Kenya. He’s a graduate of Hofstra University. He’s run 13:24 and 27:45. His brother Moses and sister Linet were Olympians. And he’s just a great guy!! Time to Fly Alex!! pic.twitter.com/LVE27KEDWj— HOKA NAZ Elite (@NAZ_Elite) August 26, 2021
Masai said running professionally is a dream come true and that he chose HOKA NAZ Elite for a number of reasons including the team environment and the opportunity for high altitude training in Flagstaff, Arizona where the team is based.
“Since I was young, I used to admire my brother Moses as I watched him travel around the world. I wanted to be just like him,” Masai said. “Now I have the opportunity, the facilities, the support, and the right personnel around me and am happy to train and race harder than ever.”
HOKA NAZ Elite coach Ben Rosario said that he believes the team signed one of the best athletes out of this year’s NCAA recruiting class when they agreed to a deal with Masai.
“Myself and Jenna [Wrieden], our assistant coach, worked hard this spring to identify the best talent coming out of the NCAA,” Rosario said. “Watching Alex run, and then talking to him, we knew that not only did he have arguably the highest ceiling of any male distance runner graduating this spring, but he was also going to be a great fit for our team and our culture, and a great ambassador for HOKA.”
Mike McManus, Director of Global Sports Marketing at HOKA, said the brand is thrilled that Masai has chosen to begin his professional career with HOKA NAZ Elite.
“Alex’s accolades, ambition, and personality will be a huge asset to the team’s success moving forward,” McManus said.
Masai is currently visiting family in Kenya and living with his sister Maggie, a 2:22:16 marathoner, and her husband Jake Roberston—the New Zealand national record holder at 10,000 meters. He will return to the United States this fall to begin training full time with HOKA NAZ Elite.