Nick Hauger’s rookie season may have been staggered by the coronavirus pandemic, but the Shadle Park product has recently gutted out the best races of his life.
Possibly the best in the country.
Hauger, a former University of Portland cross country standout who is now a member of the Flagstaff, Arizona-based professional running team NAZ Elite, posted a 10-mile time of 48 minutes, 55 seconds to run away with a win in California hosted by the team’s sponsor, Hoka One.
Hauger’s time is believed to be the fastest 10-mile time recorded on a track in U.S. history, beating the previous record held by Dick Beardsley (49:05). He is awaiting official confirmation.
Weeks after setting a personal best in the 5,000 (13:56.47) at the Under Armour Sunset Tour, Hauger shined in the Hoka Distance Carnival, an event streamed online
NAZ Elite is composed of runners from around the world and is based in a college town that’s the home of the Northern Arizona University, an NCAA men’s cross country powerhouse with three national titles in recent years.
“I was running with a couple teammates who were trying to break records for their countries,” said Hauger, a 2015 Shadle Park graduate. “It just happened to be a pretty good day for me.”
Hauger began his professional career last summer after concluding a college career that included two All-American selections and individually winning the West Coast Conference and NCAA West Regionals as a senior.
In his first professional race in January, Hauger finished fifth at the USA Track and Field Cross Country Championships, qualifying for the Pan American Championships, where he placed ninth and helped the U.S. earn a team title.
When the coronavirus began shutting down some of the world’s top running events in February, Hauger would ultimately miss out on some big races and potentially big money.
From the Stanford Invitational to Bloomsday to possibly the Olympic trials, Hauger’s rookie season would be void of meets he was training for since he signed his professional contract.
“Being a professional from Spokane, Bloomsday would have been special,” Hauger said. “I’ll have to wait until next year for that.”
Hauger has balanced his training along with a side job as a restaurant server and manager, trying to get the most out of every race he’s presented.
“We’ve had to make a lot of our own opportunities to race,” he said. “Every runner wishes things were a little different during these times.”
Local journalism is essential.
The journalists of The Spokesman-Review are a part of the community. They live here. They work here. They care. You can help keep local journalism strong right now with your contribution. Thank you.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.