Grandma’s Marathon officials were already excited to have Olympic hopeful Jordan Hasay in Duluth to speak this weekend, so when they found out two months ago she also was going to race, it was just a bonus.
Turns out, both aren't happening.
Hasay’s agent, Mike Skinner, confirmed Tuesday via email that Hasay won’t be in Duluth, saying that the 27-year-old “picked up a small injury" without elaborating.
Hasay has the second-fastest U.S. women’s marathon time in history, a blistering 2 hours, 20 minutes, 57 seconds, at the 2017 Chicago Marathon. The Californian was going to run Saturday’s Garry Bjorklund Half Marathon in addition to taking part in a public meet-and-greet Friday at the LightSpeed Lift Movement Center in Duluth.
Hasay became a LightSpeed Lift ambassador after using the bodyweight support system to recover from a pair of stress fractures in time to finish third at the Boston Marathon in April.
“The original intention was that she would always just be part of (the meet-and-greet),” Grandma’s Marathon executive director Shane Bauer said Tuesday. “That’s the gist of it. It really was the driver to get people to their demo and to interact with her and to see how she benefited from it. We’ll find someone for our talk show and stuff like that; we were more concerned for them.”
With Hasay not able to make it, a Plan B is being implemented. There will be an open house from 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at the LightSpeed Lift Movement Center at its location at the former UDAC building, 500 East 10th St.
Later that afternoon, Hasay will participate — via video — in a panel discussion from 3-4 p.m. at the DECC’s Edmund Fitzgerald Hall on how bodyweight support systems can help runners in their training.
“We’ll still be able to get Jordan’s perspective on how LightSpeed Lift has helped her with her training, and how it might help her recover from this recent incident,” said Bud Trnka, LightSpeed Lift sales and marketing director. “We care about her health and well-being first and foremost.”
The News Tribune was unable to reach Hasay for comment Tuesday, but Trnka said she reached out to them.
“We got a couple messages expressing her deep regret,” Trnka said.
When healthy and conditions right, Hasay could certainly contend with Kara Goucher’s course record 1:09:46 set in 2012, even if it was “just a training run.” Hasay has a top half-marathon time of 1:07:55.
“You get out there on a course, you’re feeling good and know you can possibly set a record, you’d probably end up going for it, I’d think,” Bauer said.
"She's a very talented runner," Trnka agreed. "I'd be hard-pressed keeping up with her for a quarter-mile."
Skinner said Hasay was “frustrated and disappointed” with the latest developments but the Chicago Marathon in October is her immediate goal.
Hasay, of San Luis Obispo, Calif., is part of the Nike Oregon Project in Portland and is coached by Alberto Salazar, a strong advocate of the bodyweight support theory. Hasay reached out to LightSpeed Lift in October looking to recover from two stress fractures in her heel. As soon as she was medically cleared to run, she started using LightSpeed Lift when other techniques, like pool running or biking, weren’t able to get her back to competitive road running as quickly.
“It really helped get her to the success she found in April at the Boston Marathon,” Trnka said. “She was very generous in quoting our product as being influential to helping her get to that level.”
LightSpeed Lift fits around a treadmill and uses patented lift-from-the-hip technology to relieve up to 40 pounds of impact force.
“It was invented and designed here in Duluth, Minnesota, and it’s fabricated just across (the bridge) in Superior, Wisconsin,” Trnka said. “We take great pride in the fact that it’s locally sourced and built with a lot of Northland pride.”
LightSpeed Lift certainly found a believer in Hasay.
"She did say she is planning on coming back at a later date, and we'll welcome her with open arms when that happens," Trnka said.