Former Oregon distance runner Jordan Hasay returns to Hayward Field

Posted by Justin Wise on Saturday, May. 31 at 2:57 pm.

It’s been almost a year since Jordan Hasay ran on the track at the Historic Hayward Field. Calling it “bittersweet” when she ran her last race as a Duck in the 2013 Outdoor NCAA Track and Field Championships, one of the most decorated runners in Oregon history noted that she was just getting her running career started.

Hasay, now running as a professional for the Portland-based Nike Oregon Project, returned to Eugene Saturday to compete in the annual Prefontaine Classic.

The Arroyo Grande, Calif. native would then proceed to make her first time running at Hayward Field as a professional a memorable one. Posting a 9:35.05 in the women’s two-mile, Hasay recorded a personal best time and finished ninth overall.

“It was exciting,” Hasay, 22, said following her race.”It gave me a sense of calm because I just knew that once I came out here everyone would be really loud and it was. It was a lot of fun, I was just trying not to put any pressure on myself. I felt good.”

It’s become the norm in her first season running for Nike Oregon Project to set lifetime bests and Saturday was no different. Before the race, her coach Alberto Salazar simply told her, “baby steps, baby steps.”

“I was happy with the PR,” Hasay said. “I was just trying to stick on Shannon (Rowbury), kind of just got gapped a little bit, I just think that  I have many years ahead and this is just the first step.”

Her teammate at Nike Oregon Project Rowbury made the late decision to compete in the two-mile and it paid dividends as she finished with an American Record of 9:20.25.

For Hasay though, that looks to be a mark that will be on her watch list for a career that she still says is on the first step. She hasn’t even completed a full season as a professional.

With that notion, there’s plenty left for the eighteen-time All American to improve on as she competes against the fastest distance runners in the world. In a race that included now American record holder Shannon Rowbury, as well as Olympic silver medalist Sally Kipyego (10,000 meters) and Olympic bronze medalist Maryam Jamal (1,500), Hasay was thrown in the back of the pack early and was subjected to certain gaps that she could not break free of. 

“I was in that big pack,”Hasay said. “I just think I need to work, there was some jostling with five or six laps to go and there kept being little gaps and I just need to work on covering those better.”

In front of an almost full-capacity crowd though, Hasay, now adorning the Nike Oregon Project logo, couldn’t have asked for a better day to return to Hayward Field. Presumably, this will not be her last.

“It’s a lot of fun being out there and I just hope I can be out there for many more years to come,” Hasay said.

Follow Justin Wise on Twitter @JWISE25