With her win in the opening event of the 2023 USATF-New England (USATF-NE) Road Race Grand Prix, Bethany Hasz (Boston Athletic Association/Boston MA) is the USATF-NE Athlete of the Month for February 2023.
Her time of 15:45 at the RACE Cancer Foundation’s Super Sunday 5K garnered her the USATF-NE 5K Women’s Road Championship title with a 23 second margin over second place.
Bethany’s victory follows a strong fall 2022 cross country season. Locally, she won the Mayor’s Cup (5km/16:47), finished 2nd at the USATF-NE Cross Country Championship (6K/21:02) to help her team win the New England crown, and in wet and windy conditions on December 9 in San Francisco, she won the National title at the USATF Club Cross Country Championship with a spirited kick in the final straightaway. In December, she also ran 15:44.05 for 5000 meters on the track.
Before she launches into the spring season, we caught up with Bethany to hear a bit more about her races.
Congratulations on your victory at the Super Sunday 5K (the USATF-NE 5K Championship). What was your expectation going into the race?
Thank you! I went into the race without any real expectations since it was my first road 5k. The goal was really to just have a good, hard effort in the middle of a training block.
Due to the high demand for race day registration, we know the start was delayed. How did you adjust and stay ready?
We definitely got lucky with the weather for being the middle of February, but it was still a pretty chilly morning so I really just focused on staying warm and ready to go. We were all on the starting line with just our uniforms on when they told us it’d be another 10 minutes before the race would start, so I put a jacket back on and did a few extra strides to keep moving a little bit.
Speaking about adjusting, what did you pack in your track bag for Club Cross Country Nationals in San Francisco? How did you manage the delays and race-day course changes?
I really did not have a lot in my meet bag for club cross. I think pretty much just my spikes, an extra pair of pants, a jacket, and a couple snacks. One of the most important things for me in a situation like that with delays and everything is to just recognize that everyone in the race is in the same position and not get overly stressed about it. I really tried to be patient, go with the flow, and be grateful that we were able to race at all given that the original course was unrunnable.
In the fall, you also won the Mayor's Cup Cross Country Championship and your team - with your sister as a member - won the USATF-NE Championship. Both were held at Franklin Park. What are your impressions of the Franklin Park course?
I really enjoy the Franklin Park course. I raced there once in my junior year as a Minnesota Gopher and then in those two races this fall. It definitely has its challenges with Bear Cage Hill and some uneven footing, but that’s part of cross country.
Beyond Franklin Park, you've run a number of well-known cross country courses during your college career at Minnesota. What courses are most memorable?
Minnesota’s home course on Les Bolstad golf course is memorable to say the least. The Roy Griak Invite is hosted there and it's probably known as one of the most difficult cross country courses in the country. Having that as your home course to train and race on definitely builds some toughness. A couple of my other favorites were probably the University of Iowa Ashton course and Florida’s Apalachee Regional Park course.
For our high school competitors, what do you wish you knew about this sport when you were in high school?
There are so many ups and downs in this sport. Having a bad race, or bad season, or bad year doesn’t define you. It can definitely be frustrating but the training you put in will pay off eventually.
For the twins in our audience, what’s been the best part of running with your sister?
Having a consistent training partner is super nice, but also just having that extra support from someone who really understands all the challenges that come with training and racing.
How are you liking your move to Boston? What are your favorite places to train around the area?
There are a ton of great places to run in Boston. My favorite is a loop around Castle Island, Carson Beach and UMass Boston.
The Charles River or the Mississippi River?
The Charles is great but I’d have to go with the Mississippi.
What's up on your spring racing schedule?
The next big event I’m training for is the BAA 5K in April!