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‘So much to prove’: Jordan Hasay working toward 2020 Olympics after latest injury setback

Jordan Hasay talks about the loss of her mother and success at Boston Marathon

Local running legend Jordan Hasay talks about the recent loss of her mother and her record-breaking third place finish at the 2017 Boston Marathon.
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Local running legend Jordan Hasay talks about the recent loss of her mother and her record-breaking third place finish at the 2017 Boston Marathon.

Jordan Hasay will be back on the Central Coast for the next two months — albeit under some disappointing conditions.

The local running legend from Arroyo Grande was forced to withdraw from the upcoming Chicago Marathon because of a reoccurring foot injury that will require an eight-week break from the sport she loves the most. It’s the latest setback for Hasay’s burgeoning marathon career that looked so promising when just a year ago she blew away expectations in her first two races.

“I’m just really disappointed,” Hasay said. “I just love the city of Chicago, the people were so wonderful when I got to race there last year. Right now, the main goal is really just to get my foot healthy.”

Dealing with hardship has been a constant for Hasay over the past two years.

She was devastated after not making the 2016 U.S. Olympic team in the 10,000 meters, which proved to be the catalyst in her making the switch to marathons.

Then there was the unexpected death of her mother later that year, an emotional weight she carried into her marathon debut in Boston in April 2017.

Even through two significant foot injuries in 2018, Hasay, who celebrated her 27th birthday Friday, remains optimistic about her long-term running career and is focused on having a successful year leading up to the 2020 U.S. Olympic Trials.

“You learn from all those things that running isn’t the end-all be-all,” Hasay said. “I’ve been through a lot of stuff personally with my mom passing away. At the end of the day, it’s just running. I guess I have a different perspective now, as well.”

A breakout year

San Luis Obispo County running enthusiasts who have followed Hasay’s career closely weren’t surprised to see her make a seamless transition into marathon running.

The Mission Prep graduate captured the attention of the running world when she finished third at the Boston Marathon in April 2017. Hasay shattered the record for an American woman in her marathon debut by nearly three minutes.

Six months later, Hasay cemented her status among the world’s elite marathon runners with a third-place finish at the Chicago Marathon. She completed the race in a personal best 2 hours, 20 minutes, 57 seconds — the second-fastest marathon time ever recorded by an American woman.

Hasay, an 18-time All-American at the University of Oregon, had her sights set on breaking Deena Kastor’s American record this year when she suffered two separate fractures to the bone in her left heel.

In April, Hasay withdrew from the Boston Marathon the day before the race after an MRI revealed the significance of the initial injury.

Hasay took a month off from running — focusing most of her workouts on cross-training — and gradually returned to full training over the summer to prepare for the Chicago Marathon on Oct. 7.

Things were progressing well until Hasay started to feel pain in the same spot.

Another scan revealed a second fracture, forcing her to withdraw from the Chicago Marathon less than three weeks before the race. Hasay said she was heartbroken to have to withdraw for a second time this year.

“I feel like I have so much to prove still,” Hasay said. “I had a great debut and ran really fast in Chicago last year. But obviously I can’t keep missing marathons. I’ve got to keep myself healthy.”

Just the beginning

Hasay said she was encouraged the first injury healed so well, and she expects to make a full recovery from the most recent setback.

She’s thankful to be able to return the Central Coast and spend time with family while she rests and recovers.

Sacrificing eight weeks of running is a concession Hasay is ready to make for what she hopes will be a long career ahead.

“You’ve got to find things that can make you smile each day when you’re out injured like that, because you’re not out there doing what you love the most,” Hasay said.

“I see it as sort of the beginning of my marathon career, and hopefully we’ll figure it out so I don’t have these sort of injuries again.”

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