May 21 2018
How running after losing my leg has helped me find my identity and purpose.
The longer Jordan Hasay runs, the better the results.
There was her January half-marathon debut in Houston, a 1-hour, 8-minute, 40-second performance that ranked as the second fastest debut by an American woman at the distance. “It’s been a nice change,” said Hasay, “running on the road.”
Less than three months later, she ran 1:07:55 in Prague, becoming only the third American woman to break 1:08 at 13.1 miles.
“I had been running so long, I think I was a bit burned out on the track,” said Hasay, who turns 26 this week.
Then came her marathon debut in April at Boston. “I always thought I’d be a marathon runner.”
That intuition proved correct. Hasay’s 26.2-mile debut was a smashing one. She finished third at Boston, in 2:23, taking a hammer to the American debut record, breaking the old mark by nearly three minutes.
Then, looking ahead to her Chicago Marathon next month, Hasay chose to tune up her legs at this past weekend’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Philadelphia Half Marathon, where she finished third against a deep field.
To some, it might seem like Hasay has been running and grabbing headlines forever, particularly as a high school phenom. She ran in the Olympic Trials for the first time following her junior year in high school, competing in the 1,500 meters. Additionally, she won the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championships as a freshman and senior, plus won the California state title at 3,200 meters all four years of high school. Although her college career at University of Oregon only showed modest success.
Yet for the young woman, also famous on the track for her long, blonde ponytail, her passion never waned.
“My parents never put any pressure on me,” she said. “It was always fun. Sometimes you have to learn, going through your ups and downs. You’re almost motivated more by the lows than the highs. It’s certainly not easy going through defeat, but at the end of the day, I would be out there running no matter what, even when I was losing races.”
In some ways, Hasay still sees herself as that young girl who grew up in San Luis Obispo, Calif. Wanting to put a smile on a child’s face, she gave her Boston Marathon medal to a young child; she shared that experience with Run Westin’s Chris Heiusler on Rock ‘n’ Roll’s Facebook page over Philly weekend.
“One reason I love the sport so much is we’re able to give back to the younger generation,” she said. “I don’t like keeping stuff around (like medals). (She did keep the cup she was awarded for finishing third at Boston.) I know what that meant when I was young.”
Growing up, the marathoner admired Paula Radcliffe, who still holds the marathon world record. “It’s still sort of surreal that I’m a professional and one kids look up to. I don’t see myself like that.”
Rock ‘n’ Roll is famous for its band placement along the course, and for Hasay, if they could pipe Adele music along the Schuykill River, Hasay would be tough to beat.
“She’s my favorite,” said Hasay. “Her voice is just excellent. If I could run as well as Adele sings or even half that, I’d have a pretty good performance. She is so down to Earth.”
Her Chicago Marathon, happening next month, is much anticipated by Hasay fans, as she takes on the famously flat course for her second go at 26.2 miles.