July 4th brought many festivities for our country and one of those celebrations was honoring the best of the best of our nation’s runners during the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon. One of Morgan’s greatest track stars was there in the mix.
Mike Hardy, a 2008 Morgan High School graduate set his sites on making it to the finals to qualify to participate in the 2016 Summer Olympic games held in Rio De Janeiro. While he has been competitively running for years, this goal began last year, when he realized he would need to shave nine seconds from his race time. When a runner has already honed their skills to the point where Hardy was last year, it is quite a remarkable accomplishment to be able to cut this time.
Hardy worked his way to qualifying as the 14th fastest runner in the steeplechase, which easily allowed him to race in the prelim of the 24 fastest runners in the country.
“It was really cool to run right next to some of the best runners in the world and to be in a stadium full of people as excited about it as I was,” Hardy said of the experience. Hardy ran an exceptional race, where he was out front and felt really good going into the second to last lap. He prepared to finish the race and was “excited to start kicking with all the guys around” him, which were third to fifth place at the time. Just as he was preparing to ensure his place in the top five finishers, he caught his foot on the barrier which caused him to trip on his landing. While the unfortunate trip slowed him down, it didn’t make him quit. He immediately hopped up and began running again; however now 20 meters behind. He attempted to make up the difference, however the other athletes were also giving all they had and unfortunately he couldn’t catch up.
Hardy trained hard to decrease his time and become competitive enough to run at this level. While he is dedicated to running, he also has a full-time job, wife and other areas of his life that vie for his attention.
“I have a lot of support from my family, friends, coach and work,” Hardy explained. “It’s because of all the support especially from my wife that makes this possible.”
Hardy married his wife, Kristal, in 2013. The couple met at Weber State University where Hardy ran for the Wildcats. Last year Hardy graduated with a degree in electronics engineering and currently works at Hill AFB as an electronics engineer. The twosome now resides in Mountain Green.
“I’m sad that I wasn’t able to find out if I would have been able to make it to finals had I not have fallen, but I plan on getting back on the track next year and I would like to compete in the USA championships,” Hardy explained. “I have been grateful to be here at the Olympic trials.”