State Record Snapshot - Mary Cain Breaks 2:00 in 800m at Pre

While there might not be much track going on in New York State, there is plenty of history to pore through. In our time off, we are looking to revisit all of the State Records for the Outdoor Season. Who these athletes were, where their marks came from, and where are they now. Twice a week, we'll be releasing "Snapshots Of A State Record," where you can learn what it takes, to put your mark on history. Tune in!

We look here at a record from 2013 for the girls. Enjoy!

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The first lap of the 800m is done and Mary Cain as expected is in last place.

What? Wait a minute? Mary Cain in last place?

But of course, this is the Pre Classic in Eugene OR on June 1, 2013, a meet for seasoned pro's and some future Olympic hopefuls from around the world. In this race are nine other elite runners with Cain, many of whom can run 1:56 for the 800m in their sleep and all of whom have gone under 2:00 except the rabbit, Monica Hargrove, who is in there to do maybe a 57 flat 400m to get the field in position for good times. For Cain, who has yet to go sub 2 minutes, the strategy is just to ride the wave in front of her and see what develops.

In her junior year as an unattached runner at Bronxville HS, Cain is the top high school distance runner in the nation, and she ran a 2:03.34 at Loucks in 2012 and topped it a few weeks earlier in San Diego with a 2:01.68. But now she is in a whole new category of competition as she bounds along at the back halfway through the race. The good news for her though is that she has come through the 400m in 59.6, and with a ferocious kick she is no foreigner to laying down even splits. The high school record was set more than three decades before by Kim Gallagher of Upper Dublin HS PA at 2:00.07 in 1982, so Cain knows if she breaks 2 minutes, the record is hers.

Off the turn at the 500 meter mark, Cain has moved up into next to last with Francine Nyonsabi of Burundi way out on the lead. She comes up on the back of the chase pack still in 8th at the 600m meter mark at 1:29.7, needing a final 200m at around 30 flat to break 2 minutes. But the final 200m is often the toughest, and as they hit the final turn, a number of the runners are beginning to stretch for it and fall back.

Cain has her chance coming off the turn. Sliding out into the second lane, she starts a charge towards the finish that takes her gradually up place by place until she is near the finish battling the many-time US champ Alysia Johnson Montano for 4th place. With Nyonsabi sprinting to a 1:56.72 time and followed in by the American Brenda Martinez (2nd at World championships in 2013) and Janeth Jepskogei Busienei of Kenya, Montano and Cain dive in together at 1:59.43 and 1:59.51 respectively.

Cain has just cut more than a half second of the US high school record and two seconds off her own PB. "I'm just so thrilled, I broke 2 minutes," says Cain after the race. "The barriers are broken."


As noted in the earlier States Record Snapshot for Cain's busting of the 1500m record in May 2013 at the Oxy High Performance meet, she was in the midst of an incredible year of running. Competing unattached for the first time in outdoor track, she was entering meets filled with elite post-college runners. A week after the Pre Classic, she headed to the Portland Track Classic and switched gears to run the still all-time best 5K outdoors at 15:45.46. After that it would be all 1500m races as she went on to finish 2nd at the US Track and Field championships and then placed 10th at the IAAF World championships in Moscow in August. That would finish off her junior year in high school. During her senior year in 2014, Cain would capture the World Juniors 3K championship.

At Pre, Cain broke her own state record of 2:01.68 set about a month earlier. In 2012 at the Loucks Games in White Plains she broke a 30-year-old SR of 2:03.7 set by Diane Richburg of Lansingburgh HS in Troy. Richburg's mark came at the All-Comers meet in July, also at White Plains.