Not long before Jordan Hasay decided to lie down and rest up before her return to the Boston Marathon, she got a text from one of her running idols.
Paula Radcliffe, who’s dominated marathons in London, New York, and Chicago, had some words of encouragement.
“Just enjoy being back out there where you belong,” Radcliffe told her.
Hasay’s third-place finish in the Boston Marathon’s women’s race on Monday was the culmination of a long and trying rehab process after finding out she had a stress fracture in her heel the day before last year’s Marathon.
Hasay, who made a splash in her marathon debut in 2017 by finishing third with a 2:23:00, made her way back to the podium in her first race in more than a year, running a 2:25:20.
“It was definitely really tough, and that was what was fueling me those last couple miles, just thinking about how I was here last year, I got an MRI the day before the race, and it showed that my foot was fractured,” Hasay said. “I just felt grateful to be toeing the line again. It gave me a whole new perspective and really just took the pressure off. It was just fun to be back out there.”
The 21-year-old California native took last year’s setback in stride even as more complications came. She took some time off last April when she initially got the diagnosis. When she ramped up her training again for the Chicago Marathon in the fall, she learned it was worse than she thought. She had two more fractures in the same bone.
“That was devastating,” she said.
She shut her training down for two months, then started from scratch.
“I never really had to start from zero since I was 12,” she said. “I’m not a big break person. I do shut it down, but 10 weeks was a very long time.”
Progress came quickly. She focused on setting realistic expectations for herself on Monday.
“Just wanted to get my foot in the water, get back out there,” Hasay said. “It didn’t have to be exceptional, but just have a solid result, so that kind of gave me peace.”
“At one point Des said, ‘There’s a long race to go, just be patient,’” Hasay said of Desiree Linden, last year’s winner, who was running beside her and finished fifth. “It just seemed like the right thing to do. It’s Team USA, we want to see you succeed.”
“I told her to go out harder,” Linden joked. “We were falling back and it seemed really aggressive and she was covering a lot moving through tangents and I just said, ‘Be patient with the tangents. This is the group we need to be in.’ ”
Linden added another top-10 finish to her collection. She finished second in 2001, 10th in 2014, fourth in 2015, and became the first American to win the race in 33 years last year.
“I would love the third, just to get the set and put it on my desk,” Linden said.
The conditions may have been ugly early in the day, but Linden welcomed it.
“Cold, nasty, wet, the whole thing like last year,” she said. “I was like: ‘Bring that on. I’m ready for that.’ ”
Scott Fauble and Jared Ward both finished in the top 10 in the men’s race. Fauble posted a personal best 2:09:09 to finish seventh, 1:12 behind winner Lawrence Cherono. Ward, a Utah native and BYU alum, clocked a personal best 2:09:25 for eighth place. Ward led between miles 11 and 12, while Fauble, a Colorado native who ran for the University of Portland, was the frontrunner for miles 18 and 21.
“Honestly, I was thinking, ‘Holy bleep! I’m leading the bleeping Boston Marathon,’” Fauble said. “It was such a surreal experience to be leading a race that I grew up watching on TV. Not even just growing up, I watched it on TV the last three or four years and idolized the race and the experience. I just tried to soak in the moment of actually being in front of the pack.”
As top 10 finishers, all four Americans met the Olympic qualifying standard. Hasay said she’s already eying Tokyo in 2020.
“That was my whole goal with my coach and team,” she said. “Just get back out there, get back in the hunt. I’m just really excited, to be honest.”
Julian Benbow can be reached at email@example.com.