Jordan Hasay Is Now One of America’s Best Half Marathoners, Here’s Why She May Be an Even Better Marathoner

by Weldon Johnson,
January 17, 2017

Editor’s note: Most of this was already in our Houston Winners and Losers article, but Weldon decided to expand on it a little and make it its own article.

Before the 2017 Aramco Half Marathon in Houston, a visitor to the messageboard started a thread entitled Is Jordan Hasay still going for AR (American Record) in Houston Sunday?. I’m pretty sure the person was trolling.

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That discussion is no longer in the troll realm, however, as Hasay hit her debut out of the park, running 68:40 (the American record is 67:34). Making things even more interesting is the fact that after the race Hasay told LetsRun her goal was to run 68 flat (68:00) in Houston. So she actually was a bit disappointed with her time. She shouldn’t be. Due to the weather, the times in all four races were slow for Houston (the men across the board in the half were at least 1:00 off what they’d want to run), yet Hasay ran a time (68:40) that equivalency charts put as much faster than anything she’s run in her life (they VDOT projector puts it at 31:09 for 10k, (Hasay’s best 10k is 31:49) and projects out to 2:23:48 for the marathon).

“I’m very excited it went well because I hoped this would be my distance. I just really enjoy the training for it. The race was a lot of fun. I made a lot of mistakes. I wanted to go out and straight out run 5:10 pace. We were hoping for 68 minutes,” Hasay said.

The fact coach Alberto Salazar thought Hasay could run 68:00 in her debut when the American record is 67:34 shows Hasay clearly is a half marathoner. The even more exciting thing for American distance fans is the possibility that she very well could be an even better marathoner than half-marathoner. Hasay said the full-marathon training has gone better than the half-marathon training, plus she’s already done 20 mile tempo runs.

“I’m excited [about the full marathon]. I think I’ve got the 5:20, 5:30 pace (2:20, 2:24 marathon) down even better than that [the 5:10s for the half marathon]. To be honest I was a little more scared of the half because the longer 20 mile tempos have gone so well. I’m a little bit more used to that rhythm actually,” she said when asked about whether the full marathon scared her.

Hasay is the former American high school record holder at 1500m. Many thus assumed her future would be on the track. It’s not – it’s clearly on the roads.

The longer Hasay runs, the better she seems to get. According to McMillan, her 1500-5000 track PRs all convert to a 2:30 marathon. However, her 10k pb equates to a 2:28 marathon and her half-marathon converts to a 2:24. American fans will be very interested in seeing how she does in the actual marathon.

Event Jordan’s PR McMillan Marathon Proj.
1500 4:07.70 2:30:52
3000 8:47.89 2:30:36
5000 15:28.56 2:30:48
10k 31:49 2:28:30
Half 68:40 2:24:31
Full? ??? ???

Might Hasay end up being America’s version of Paula Radcliffe – way better at the marathon than any other distance?

Speaking of Radcliffe, the way Jordan talked about finding marathon pace not that difficult reminded me of my conversation with Paula Radcliffe before she ran her first marathon and Paula said she found the training not that difficult. The difference was Paula made it sound like 5:15 pace wasn’t that hard (2:18 marathon pace which was faster than the world record), and Jordan talked about 5:20 and 5:30 pace (2:20 to 2:24 marathon) being not that hard.

Jordan’s performance Sunday changed my perception of her as a runner. The way she talked about the marathon changed it even more.

I don’t want to hype up Jordan’s marathoning career too much because until this past weekend her pro career has been largely more hype than anything else. Granted she made one World Championship team at 10,000m but she was a long way from showing she could be one of America’s best (Many people falsely assumed that given her success as a high schooler and even at the collegiate level that means she would automatically be a great pro, but the jump in talent is tremendous at the highest level). The facts are that while Jordan has a pretty good motor (4:07 for 1500), that type of speed leaves you as a total also ran on the track. The good news, however, is that type of motor is more than sufficient to be a very good marathoner if you have the endurance for the 26.2 mile distance and all signs are pointing towards Jordan having that type of endurance.

Just how good will she be? Time will soon tell.

America’s fastest half-marthoners according to
1) Kara Goucher 1:06:47 (aided course, best on non-aided is 1:08:05)
2) Deena Kastor 1:07:34
3) Molly Huddle 1:07:41
4) Shalane Flanagan 1:07:51
5) Jordan Hasay 1:08:40

Post-race video with Jordan from Houston:


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