Former Oregon athletes transition to elite level marathons

Two of Oregon’s most decorated runners have been dominating marathons around the country, and they are both relatively new at it. Galen Rupp and Jordan Hasay, both of whom run for Alberto Salazar of the Nike Oregon Project, have moved on from cross-country and track to the much longer distances.

On Oct. 8th, Rupp and Hasay raced in the Chicago Marathon, one of the eight races recognized by the Abbott World Marathon Majors. It was Hasay’s second ever marathon, and it was Rupp’s fourth. Rupp won and Hasay came in third place.

It’s incredibly surprising that they are both runners are young and competing so well at the marathon, an event that is usually done towards the end of the timeline of professional runners.

Rupp, an Oregon athlete from 2005 to 2009, is arguably one of the most decorated American distance runners in history, and this was before he started running marathons.

Hasay is a Duck who graduated in 2013 and made the World Championship team the same year. However, due to injury and some disappointing performances, she has not quite broken into the elite level for her primary events, the 5k and 10k.

For the past two years, Hasay has been gradually racing longer distances. In February, she ran her first half-marathon in Houston, Texas, going one hour, eight minutes and 40 seconds, making her the sixth-fastest American woman ever at the half. That’s 5:14 per mile for 13.1 miles.She set a personal best a few months later in April, running one hour, seven minutes and 55 seconds in Prague.

After that, she didn’t waste any time finding an easy marathon, as she chose Boston for her debut. She ran 2:23:00, the fastest marathon debut ever by an American woman.

Her Chicago Marathon time of 2:20:57 was a two minute personal best. She made a big commitment to stick with the frontrunners and she came through.

“This day solidifies that this is my event,” Hasay told RunnersWorld.com after the race.

Galen Rupp had done a few half marathons before, but prior to the Olympic Marathon Trials in Los Angeles, he had never done the full thing. In 2011, Rup ran 1:00:30 at the NYC Half Marathon according to RunnersWorld.com.

It wasn’t until December 2015 when Rupp ran 1:01:20 at the Foot Traffic Holiday Half Marathon in Portland, Oregon, that speculation rose about his potential marathon ability. He won the Olympic trials in February 2016, and for his third ever marathon, only eight days after from his 10k race, he went up against Eliud Kipchoge at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.

Kipchoge has been described one of the greatest marathoners ever, and he went on to win first Olympic gold medal. Rupp’s third place finish made him the first American medalist since 2004.

After that race, Rupp told USA Today he felt similar to Adam Sandler’s character Happy Gilmore.

“He fights being a golfer for a while, saying he’s a hockey player,” Rupp said. “I fought being a marathoner and wanted to run on the track, but maybe this is my best event.”

Rupp and Hasay both made names for themselves on the track, but they are not afraid to branch out into a different racing environment. So far, the risk has been paying off.

Follow August Howell on Twitter @howell_august

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August Howell

August Howell