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'I just want to win': Jordan Hasay takes aim at Boston Marathon title

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Winning wasn’t really on Jordan Hasay’s mind when she made her marathon debut last year. After making the move from middle-distance track events to long-distance road racing, the Arroyo Grande native and Mission Prep graduate was just looking to have a good showing and avoid disaster at the Boston Marathon.

She shattered expectations by clocking a time of 2:23:00, setting the record for the fastest debut ever for an American woman in the marathon by three minutes and claiming an emotional third-place finish. The former University of Oregon star followed that with a third-place finish at the Chicago Marathon later that year with an improved time of 2:20:57.

This year, as she prepares to run in the Boston Marathon for the second time, her goals have changed.

“I just want to win,” Hasay said Friday in a phone interview from Boston. “Last year, I was just mentally trying to conquer the distance, but now I have been able to elevate my level of training and confidence from having raced Boston and Chicago. I am excited to be in the mention for the potential of being an American winner and being in that front group.”

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Along with a stacked field that includes Shalane Flanagan, Molly Huddle and Desi Linden — three U.S. runners all looking to become the first American women to win the Boston Marathon since 1985 — along with top international competition, Hasay will face the added challenge of a nagging foot injury and terrible weather.

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Jordan Hasay, shown here running in the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 8, 2017, placed eighth in the Houston Half Marathon on Sunday, January 14, 2018. Paul Beaty AP

Hasay, 26, had to pull out of the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships last month due to a peroneal tendon issue. But, she said, the move was more precaution than anything else, and the injury hasn’t caused her to miss any workouts.

“It was the right decision,” Hasay said. “Boston is a big race, and I wanted to be ready.”

But the rain and cold expected to hit New England on Monday could make things interesting for everyone. Forecasters are predicting possible freezing rain and sleet will hit the area Saturday and continue into Monday. At race time, winds are expected to reach up to 18 mph with temperatures around 37 degrees.

“I wasn’t worried about the weather, but that was the main question at the press conference,” Hasay said. “I have been home for most of the build-up, so I am not really prepared for the rain. But I am prepared for the wind. I have done several long runs out at Cal Poly, where I feel like I am running into a wall of wind.”

Despite all the challenges, Hasay will look to make history Monday morning in Hopkinton when the 122nd Boston Marathon begins at 9:32 a.m. ET.

“I am feeling really fit, and I am ready to go on Monday,” Hasay said. “I am excited to be in the mention for the potential of being an American winner and being in that front group.”

Live coverage of the race begins on NBC Sports Network and NBC Sports Gold starting at 8:30 a.m ET.

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