Jordan Hasay enters her first Bank of America Chicago Marathon on Sunday with the special blessing of Joan Benoit Samuelson and a lofty goal. Hasay stormed the elite company of American marathoners with a record-setting debut in the Boston Marathon on April 17.
More than 40,000 runners and a million fans are expected for the 40th Chicago Marathon, where the elite runners start at 7:30 a.m.
“Joan texted me that she is giving me all her energy,’’ Hasay said. “I feel bummed. I know how much she wanted to race.’’
Samuelson announced Wednesday she was withdrawing because of injuries. Her quest was to become the first woman 60 or older to run a sub 3-hour marathon.
Hasay, who just turned 26, is on the opposite end of her career.
“She has been an idol of mine for years,’’ said Hasay, who met Samuelson through Nike connections. “I run her race almost every year. We developed a friendship for which I am grateful.’’
Samuelson advised Hasay to run Boston, where Hasay made a smashing debut and finished third in 2:23:00, the fastest debut by an American woman by almost three minutes.
“Bummer, she had to pull out [of Chicago],’’ Hasay said. “But selfishly, I get all her energy, which is a lot.’’
Hasay, who trains in Beaverton, Oregon, and comes from Arroyo Grande, Calif., arrives in Chicago with her own lofty goals.
“Definitely like to PR,’’ she said. “Effort on flat course should be faster. But the marathon is all about the day. I know what pace I can do.’’
She hopes to finish near the top, which she would with a PR.
“There are women in here who have bigger PRs than me, so I have to be realistic,’’ she said. “But everyone is beatable on the day. I am looking forward to the competition.’’
Hasay again will be running with the memory of her mother, Teresa Hasay, who died unexpectedly in November at 56. Hasay will be wearing the Nike 4% running shoe with her mother’s saying, “To Be A Shining Star’’ on the inside of the sole.
“I’m excited that my dad [Joe] is coming,’’ Hasay said. “He loves to watch the start and will try to see me at three spots. Interesting to see if I can hear him cheering in the crowd. He will have a game plan.’’
Hasay, who is in good health and shape, has a game plan, based at least partially on her run on another flat course at the Prague Half Marathon on April 1. She finished sixth in 107:55, becoming only the third American woman under 68 minutes.
“I don’t want to go out quicker than that,’’ Hasay said.
If she is in that time zone, she will be at or near the front.
Along the way, she hopes to soak in Chicago.
“I watched several videos on YouTube,’’ she said.
She is looking forward to Chinatown, among the 29 neighborhoods the course goes through, and the people on stilts.
“Before Boston, I studied every single mile, and after I finished I realized I didn’t notice anything,’’ Hasay said.
All the same, she will do her usual prerace routine with rice, chicken and salad Saturday night and ‘‘Grey’s Anatomy’’ on the TV. She will be up three hours early Sunday for coffee and oatmeal.
“Just enjoy the present moment,’’ Hasay said. “I try not to have too set of a routine and just take in the moment. It will be a fun day.’’
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