The Next Move for Mary Cain
While many athletes from the IAAF World Championships begin enjoying their offseason, 17-year-old Mary Cain returns to Bronxville High School for her senior year. After setting several personal bests and records on the track, Cain will not run cross-country season for her high school team and train under coach Alberto Salazar again. She is also in the process of applying to college.
In an exclusive interview, Salazar told Flotrack that eight colleges contacted him before the World Championships and he passed along all of the information to her father, Dr. Charlie Cain. The Cain family is evaluating those eight options as well as other schools. When the list is narrowed down, Salazar will be willing to lend his advice if they ask of his opinion.
Contrary to previous reports, Salazar has not received any offers to coach at a college or university and leave the Nike headquarters.
"I am not leaving Portland to coach Mary Cain at any other location," Salazar said. "No college has offered me that."
Olympic 10,000-meter silver medalist Galen Rupp was coached by Salazar while competing for Central Catholic High School in Portland, Ore. Not much has changed in his approach to making the transition from high school to college.
“Keep it fun,” Salazar said. “Also keep the pressure and expectations as low as possible.”
While many were surprised Cain advanced through the heats and semifinal rounds, she voiced personal disappointment in placing 10th in the final as she was the one with high expectations.
“I’m just the type of person that I don’t care that I’m 17. I’m in it to win it for every race that go in,” Cain said in a post-race interview with Flotrack. “I think I could have. 4:03. I think I’m very capable (of that.) I’m not even tired. I really don’t know what happened. I guess I got scared that last 800, but I have to take a deep breath and regroup. I know I can do so much better.”
Two weeks after the World Championships, Cain did not train for any more track races and focused on mechanics.
“Mary ran just one mile per day concentrating on some form changes we’d like for her to make. Primarily it is getting her hips out further in front of her and keeping her arms symmetrical,” Salazar said. “She is now up to two miles per day and has started lifting weights again. Her form change has been substantial, but we will keep it very gradual to reduce the chance of injury.”
Cain has not decided if she wants to run the Nike Cross-Country Regionals and National Championship in the fall. With 2014 being an off-year for track and field’s championships, Salazar says Cain will focus on invitational meets much like his other athletes.
“The goal is to get her running form better and build a base for indoors, where she will run a substantial season” Salazar said.
Although many questions surround Cain's next move, the summer of 2013 will not be the last the running community sees of the high school distance running queen. By the time indoor season comes along, college applications will be submitted and a much clearer picture of her future will be painted.