*Hayden Harward after pulling off the 3 Peat!
Name: Hayden Harward
What was your most memorable race/throw/jump/vault/moment?
My most memorable race was probably the 4x400 at the BYU invitational of my sophomore year. It was the golden hour 4x400 so it was all of the very best teams in the state. We were the smallest school there and one of the bottom seeds. We ended up taking third against all of these huge schools, and we broke our school record by 4 seconds. It was one of the best team races I've ever ran and my team and I went on to later take state in the 4x400 so that's a pretty fun memory.
Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?
My biggest competition is definitely Porter Whitworth. He's a super talented runner from Grantsville and ever since my sophomore year we have been battling against each other. I don't think anyone I've raced against has pushed me more than him in both track and cross country. It's a little weird considering we only race against each other at state usually, but it's always my goal to run as fast as he is.
What was your greatest accomplishment?
My greatest accomplishment is being an 8x state champion in track and field. I think that winning all four events I compete in (800, 1600, 3200, 4x400) for two consecutive years is a pretty unique thing that people don't see very often.
If you could do it all over again what would you change about your running career in high school?
There really isn't a lot I would change. I've had an amazing and fun high school career. The only thing I would change is that COVID never came and I got to have my senior track season.
What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?
I had a lot of injury challenges early on in my running career. I have tendinitis in both knees and in my hip. It made me dread running and it ruined my attitude for a certain point during high school. It was a huge struggle, but I worked through it and it paid off in ways that I never thought possible.
What will you miss the most?
I think I will definitely miss my teammates and my close friends that I've gained through running and spending time with them. Track is such a cool sport because a large part of track meets is just sitting around hanging out with your friends and you get to become friends with people that you previously wouldn't have become friends with and I think that's a special thing.
What advice would you give to younger athletes?
From a distance running standpoint I would say one thing that has helped me have a lot of great races and learn how to race is not being afraid to take risks. You never really know what your body is capable of so I would say just keep pushing yourself further during workouts and races. If you just settle being where you're at then you'll never get any better. Work to pass that one more person in a race, try a new race strategy, do whatever you feel like you need to do to push yourself in new ways and I promise you'll surprise yourself.
What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?
I love my coach. He's one of the best guys I know. Without him, I know for a fact I wouldn't be anywhere close to where I'm at now from an athletic standpoint and as a human being in general. He always pushed me to be my best as an athlete and as a person and he's a big example to me. He knew what I was capable of and he knew exactly how to get me to where I needed to be and for that I am forever grateful. Even back when I was just a freshman he would tell me that I had potential to run in college and that I should make that a goal and work towards it. I didn't believe him at the time, but he kept pushing me to be my best and he got me there. I couldn't have asked for a better coach.
What are your college plans?
I plan to continue my running career at Southern Utah University running Cross Country, Indoor Track, and Outdoor track.
Who would you like to say 'thank you' to?
I would like to say thank you first of all to my family. Thank you Mom for being at every single meet braving the sometimes awful weather and for filming all of my races. Thank you Dad for keeping my head on straight and supporting me through all of it. Thank you to my sisters for coming and watching me run even when you had other things you could be doing. Thank you to my coach, Jim Monsen, for making me the athlete I am today. Thank you to all of my teammates throughout the years for pushing me and making the sport so much fun. Thanks to all of my competition throughout the years for pushing me as well and making me a better runner.