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Former ASU star runner Hastings ready to thank supporters

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LONDON – Amy Hastings is prepared to thank all her supporters with her performance in the 10,000-meter Olympic race Friday.

“Something that really helps me is being able to just have people back me,” said Hastings, an Arizona State University alumna and Mammoth Lakes, Calif., resident who grew up in Kansas. “It makes me not only accountable but it makes me want to make them proud. I think that’s a big thing, putting it all out there for Kansas, Arizona State, California and everything, all the people who have helped me. This is how I show them thank you.”

With a significant group of Olympians who attended ASU, Hastings feels right at home.

Since she left ASU, her achievements have become legendary. She now is hailed as perhaps the most successful cross-country athlete in ASU history. She was the first Sun Devil to win the Pac-10 cross country championship and holds the school record in the indoor 5,000-meter run.

“I feel lucky I got to go through that,” Hastings said.

After a discouraging start at the Olympic Trials — fourth in the marathon trial — Hastings began training for the 10,000 meters.

“Shifting gears was difficult. I had very mixed emotions,” Hastings said. “But, eventually, once practice started going better and everything, I could put it (marathon) behind me and use it as a learning experience.”

She won the 10,000-meter Olympic Trials with a time of 31:58:36 and will now compete in her first games.

“Every moment has been a dream, so I’m having a lot of fun,” Hastings said.

She is resting, eating right and practicing to prepare for the race Friday.

“I’m ready to get out there,” Hastings said. “I’m trying to keep things low-key and stay calm until then, and I’m just conserving all my mental and physical energy so I can do something and use it all up in that 10,000 meters.”

Tirunesh Dibaba, a 10,000-meter runner from Ethiopia, is Hastings’ biggest competition, as is the rest of the Ethiopian and Kenyan team. However, she feels confident.

“I’m hoping they won’t race to their highest level because they might make a mistake, so I’m just going to race as smart as I possibly can and go for it,” Hastings said.

“I’m going to be in it 100 percent of the time. I’ve been waiting to feel the pain of this 10K for four years, so I’m just going to embrace it and love every second.”