2013 Prefontaine Classic Women’s 800: Mary Cain Breaks 2:00 As Francine Niyonsaba Dominates

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by LetsRun.com
June 1, 2013

Eugene, OR – Up front in the 2013 Prefontaine Classic women’s 800 meters, Burundi’s 20-year old Francine Niysonsaba was establishing herself as the women to beat on the world scene for 2013 as she dominated by winning in a new meet record time of 1:56.72. Behind her, American Brenda Martinez was earning the biggest mark of her career with a big PR of 1:58.18 to finish second (previous 800 best 1:59.14).

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But to be truthful, that was all lost for those in attendance and watching live on television on NBC as running behind them was US high school sensation Mary Cain who became the first American to break 2:00.00 while in high school, eclipsing Kim Gallagher’s legendary 31-year old mark of 2:00.07 from 1982.

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After going out in a modest 59.6 for 400 and 1:29.7 for 600, the 17-year old Cain showed great strength and speed closing very well over the final 200. She was next to last at 400, but closed her last 200 in sub-30 to finish fifth, just behind Olympic finalist and 2012 Olympic Trials champion Alysia Montaño who was fourth in 1:59.43.

Results and Quick Takes below

800 Metres - Women Race 2                                     
    1 Niyonsaba , Francine             BDI    1:56.72WL, MR    4        
    2 Martinez , Brenda                USA    1:58.18 PB       2        
    3 Busienei , Janeth Jepkosgei      KEN    1:58.71 SB       1        
    4 Johnson Montano , Alysia         USA    1:59.43                   
    5 Cain , Mary                      USA    1:59.51  PB               
    6 Okoro , Marilyn                  GBR    2:00.70  SB             
    7 Poistogova , Ekaterina           RUS    2:01.26
    8 Chebet , Winny                   KEN    2:01.37
    9 Akkaoui , Malika                 MAR    2:02.44
      Hargrove , Monica                USA        DNF

Quick Take (QT) #1: We weren’t surprised that Mary Cain broke 2:00, but were very surprised she broke it when she only went out in 59.6. You can watch the post-race interview with Cain below.

QT #2: Martinez is now #14 all-time in US history at 800 – right behind some very good milers – Regina Jacobs, Mary Slaney and Suzy Favor Hamilton. Her post-race interview is embedded on the right. She told us despite today’s time, she wants to run the 1,500 at USAs.

Top 15 US Women at 800
1:56.40 Jearl Miles
1:56.90 Mary Slaney
1:56.91 Kim Gallagher
1:57.04 Meredith Valmon
1:57.34 Alysia Montaño
1:57.80 Delisa Floyd
1:57.82 Julie Jenkins
1:57.84 Joetta Clark
1:57.84  Maggie Vessey
1:57.97   Nicole Teter
1:57.99    Hazel Clark
1:58.08    Regina Jacobs
1:58.10    Suzy Favor Hamilton
1:58.18    Brenda Martinez

QT #3: Montaño got out hard as she normally does and seemed to be fading in the homestretch before professional pride kicked in and allowed her to hold off Cain. Cain came by Montaño about 50 meters from the finish and it seemed to us that Montaño realized it was her and that motivated her to find an extra gear and push really hard in the final meters. She came back on Cain running all the way out to lane four to hold her off. Normally people don’t kick that hard and rally from a fade to grab fourth.

Nothing wrong with making sure you don’t lose to a HSer. And after the race, Montaño stole the show by giving Cain the flower she always wears in her hair. A classy move which made for some great television. You can watch the final 100 meters of the race (or the whole thing if you rewind) as well as the post-race interaction between Montaño and Cain on the left.

QT #3: The live viewing experience wasn’t nearly as enjoyable. The official times weren’t available immediately after the race due to some technical malfunction and that mishap totally blew the moment for the fans. The fans at Hayward were really into Mary Cain breaking 2:00 (there were even some “Come to Oregon” shouts) and it was a total buzz-kill when for minutes her time didn’t come up and then the meet announcer had to tell us to trust him that she’d done it.

QT #4: We loved this messageboard post from “TrackCoach” that showed up this afternoon: Ode to Kim Gallagher who had HS 800 record for 30 + years. He really gives you a great idea of how special Gallagher was. Also, you can read a 1997 NY Times article by Marc Bloom on Gallagher and her struggles with colon cancer.

QT #5: Olympic and world champ Mariya Savinova was a no show here. Is it that hard for meet management to know if someone of that caliber is going to run say the day before the meet?

QT #6: Cain’s interview on NBC is below.

More LRC Pre Coverage:
Highlight:Women’s 800:High Schooler Mary Cain Breaks 2:00 As Francine Niyonsaba Dominates

5k: Mo Farah is Beaten By Edwin Soi as Galen Rupp Finishes Sixth
Bowerman Mile: Silas Kiplagat Steals The Race From Asbel Kiprop at The Line as 9 Guys Run 3:51 or Faster
Steeple: Conseslus Kipruto Survives Ezekiel Kemboi’s Shove; Evan Jager 8:08
Men’s 800: Mohammed Aman Dominates As Nick Symmonds Debuts in Third

5k: Tirunesh Dibaba Survives A Scare From Mercy Cherono
1500: Hellen Obiri Wins in 3:58 as Treniere Moser and Sheila Reid Run 4:02

Friday: Kenenisa Bekele Wins 10,000m, But Time Disappoints at 2013 Prefontaine Classic
*Men’s International Mile: James Magut Wins, No HS Sub-4 As Will Leer Gets Top American Honors as Andrew Wheating Runs ‘Scared’
*Men’s National 1500: Garrett Heath Wins, Chris Solinsky’s Lacking Speed And Alan Webb Struggles But Is Happy
*Women’s 800: Phoebe Wright Gets The Win, Ajee Wilson’s Winning Streak Comes To An End And Gabrielle Anderson PR’s

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