Abdi looks to continue success on, off track

by: NICK ALVARADO/Editorial Assistant 

Hassan Abdi has been breaking cross country and track records since arriving at South Plains College.

He currently is still breaking school records and looking to achieve more in his running career.

Originating from Ethiopia, Abdi has enjoyed the way of life in the United States after attending high school in Amarillo. He says that he enjoys the campus environment and lifestyle.

“I wish it wasn’t a two-year school,” Abdi said. “This is my fourth semester here at SPC.”

Many people believe that running is a big sport for athletes who originate from Africa. For Abdi, it was different, as he loved and played soccer until making the transition to running. He still enjoys soccer, but prefers watching it.

Abdi says that he has grown accustomed to life in the United States.

“I went to high school here in the U.S.,” said Abdi, “Especially SPC, I like it here a lot.”

Abdi initially played soccer before participating and track. He still watches and keeps up with soccer on television.

“I started running in my junior year of high school, when I was about 17 years old,” Abdi said. “I used to play soccer, but I got out of it because I had some issues with the coach. I tried something new and talked to the cross country coach, and he said that I could come and join them. I ran on the junior varsity level and won that race. So they moved me up to varsity, and since then, I’ve been running.”

Abdi competed in the NJCAA Half Marathon and broke the national record with a time of 1:04:55.67, which he calls his best performance. However, this race wasn’t his most exciting performance.

Hassan Abdi is ready to compete in the National Indoor meet Winston-Salem, NC. DEVIN REYNA/PLAINSMAN PRESS

“One of the most exciting races that I won was the 10K (at Hutchinson, Kansas) my freshman year when I got second place,” said Abdi.

Abdi never expected to break the national record and never noticed it whenever he checked with his teammates.

“I don’t really know,” Abdi said. “I just finished the race, and I was more worried about my teammates. So I just went back to the line to see where my teammates were. After I saw them finish, and after we won the team championship, I was excited. Then some guy came up to me and said that I ran a 64. That’s a new national record. I’ll take that too.”

When Abdi is not on the track, he likes to watch soccer and enjoys hanging out with friends.

“I enjoy watching soccer, especially the Premier League [in England], but I mostly hang out with friends,” Abdi says.

Abdi’s goal outside of track is studying to become pharmacist and attending a four-year university.

Where I go [after SPC], I’m going to take pre-pharmacy or pre-medicine, one of them,” said Abdi.

Abdi has already qualified for the national indoor track meet on Mar. 4 in Winston-Salem, N.C., and will look to break more records during the outdoor season.

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