Mary Cain Turns Pro

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By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2013 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved
November 15, 2013

After a record-smashing year which culminated in a 10th place finish at the IAAF World Championships 1500m, Bronxville High School middle distance standout Mary Cain has decided to become a professional athlete at the age of 17.  She will continue to be coached by Alberto Salazar and will now be represented by Ricky Simms of PACE Sports Management.

“For the past couple of months, my family and I have been debating whether I should compete at a collegiate or professional level going forward,” Cain said through a statement circulated to the media (original press release here). “I have decided, and am truly excited to announce, that I will be turning pro.  I believe that, in the long run, this is the best way for me continue to develop as an athlete.”

Mary Cain

Mary Cain (right) finishing second at the 2013 USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Ia., in the 1500m behind Treniere Moser (photo by David Monti for Race Results Weekly)

Cain enjoyed a magical season in 2013 where she excited crowds on both coasts with her record runs.  She set USA junior records at 800m (1:59.51; later surpassed by Ajee’ Wilson’s 1:58.21), 1500m (4:04.62), indoor 1500m and mile (4:11.72/4:28.25), and indoor 3000m and 2 miles (9:04.51/9:38.68).  She won the USA indoor mile title in Albuquerque last March and finished second in the 1500m in the USA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines last June to earn her place on the World Championships team for Moscow.  At 17 years-old, she was the youngest-ever athlete to compete in a World Championships 1500m final.

“I’m not even like sad, I’m just like angry,” Cain told the media after that race. “And I think that’s a good thing. I think that this was all a learning experience this whole meet.”

Simms said today that Cain will finish high school as scheduled in the spring of 2014; no plans for college were revealed, except that she planned to continue her education.  Her parents, Charlie and Mary, said that they fully supported their daughter’s decision to turn pro.

“How to proceed was always going to be a difficult choice,” said Charlie Cain, an anesthesiologist, through a statement.  “Mary is a straight-A student and will be pursuing a college education while competing.  This remains a priority and we think this approach is the best way to balance her educational and athletic goals.”

PACE Sports Management represents other important athletes who are coached by Alberto Salazar, including double Olympic Champion Mo Farah, Olympic silver medalist Galen Rupp, and 2009 World Championships 1500m bronze medalist Shannon Rowbury. 2009 World Half-Marathon bronze medalist Dathan Ritzenhein is also coached by Salazar, but represented by Dan Lilot.

*Press Release on Cain turning pro

Georgie Clarke was a super phenom at age 15. *More 2008 Reebok photos

Quick Take #1 Added By Dr. Cain says this was a difficult choice but it really was the obvious choice and the one we’ve been calling for for months. With Cain already having shown no interest on being on a traditional team in high school (Mary Cain’t high school team Bronxville is a power hour and just won their sixth straight NY state title) and with Cain being as good as she is, why would she foresake a ton of money to run in college? Simple answer: She wouldn’t.

Given the fact that many teen prodigies on the women’s side often don’t end up as super stars as adults, it’s even more obvious of a decision. Anyone remember Australia’s Georgie Clarke? Georgie Clarke ran 4:06.7 at age 15 1/2 and her pb is now 4:06.5.

QT #2 by Cain said she will continue to train with Alberto Salazar. If she wants to train with Alberto Salazar, then Cain has to sign with Nike, that’s how it works. There is a chance she has already signed with Nike.

If Cain has not signed with Nike, she needs to open up to the possibility of having another coach, so she could have another sponsor. Nike is the big boy in the room with the most dollars and the one most likely to win Cain’s services. However, Nike’s job is to get Cain as cheaply as possibly, and unless she’d seriously consider going elsewhere, she very well could be leaving some money on the table. Mary Cain is a once a generation talent. It’s very hard to put a traditional price tag on her.

Even if she does leave some money on the table, Cain is going to be compensated very well. If there is a middle distance runner in American getting paid more than Mary next year, it is only World Champion Jenny Simpson.  Cain turning pro is the right decision and and a no brainer to us.

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