Mary Cain Runs 9:38.68 For 2 Miles – The Greatest Distance Performance in US HS Girls History

February 2, 2013

On January 12th, when Mary Cain ran 9:02.10 for 3000, we called it arguably the greatest distance performance in US high school history. Well there is no argument now. Tonight in Boston, Cain ran 9:38.68 for 2 miles at the 2013 New Balance Boston Indoor Games – a performance that is the single best mark in US HS girl’s distance history.

We had equated Cain’s 9:02.10 to 9:45.47 for 2 miles and 4:10.72 for 1500. Because Cain’s 1,500 pb is 4:11.01, it’s hard to say that her 3000 from January was definitely quantifiably better than her 1,500 pb. But today’s run equates to approximately 8:55.82 for 3000 and 4:07.82 for 1500 (’s crack statistician John Kellogg is unavaible as we write this so we just used the same percentages) – marks that are way better than what Cain or any other US high school girl has ever achieved before.

Cain ran a slight negative split as she went through the mile in approximately 4:50. She started out dead last in the nine competitor field (10 with the rabbit) but by the end only two runners beat her.

Triple Olympic champion Tirunesh Dibaba was way ahead of the field as she won in 9:13.17. Dibaba ran a big negative split without any help at all over most of the race as her first mile was just 4:39. Dibaba, who will debut in the marathon in London in April, just missed her 2 mile pb of 9:12.23. Had the rabbitting been better, she might have had a shot at the meet record of 9:10.50.

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photo of Mary Cain Mary Cain after breaking the USA high school two-mile record at the 2013 New Balance Indoor Grand Prix
(photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)

The runner-up and the winner of the chase pack battle for second was two-time NCAA cross country champion and Canadian Olympian Sheila Reid who ran 9:37.97. Cain ended up third as she won a homestretch battle with 2012 Olympic 1,500 semifinalist Nicole Sifuentes of Canada (former Michigan runner) who has a 4:06 1500 pb.

Early on in the race, two women tried to run with Dibaba and they paid for it in a big way. Ethiopian teen Botytom Gebreslase, the 2011 World Youth champ whom we expected to be the top teenager in the race given the fact she ran 8:46 for 3000 last year at age 17 and two weeks, ended up dead last in 10:05.40. American Brenda Maritnez (1:59/4:06 pbs) ended up next to last in 9:51.91.

For the record, Mary Cain, who is 16 years and 275 days young as her birthday is May 3rd, set a new world’s best for an actual 2-mile run by a 16 year old. The previous best belonged to Finland’s Annemari Sandell who ran 9:43.28 back in 1993.

Cain, however, has along way to get the age 16 world record if we include 3000 pbs as South African Zola Budd ran 8:39.00 for 3000 back in 1983.

Cain obviously did beat the US best 2 mile and 3,3200 meter performances in history. Melody Fairchild ran 9:55.92 indoors for 2 miles back in 1995 and the fastest 3,200 ever run by a US high schooler came outdoors when  Kim Mortensen ran 9:48.59 in 1996.

Results and more info appear below.

More: MB: Cain 9:38.68 2-mile!!
Official 2013 NBIGP Discussion Thread
*A list of track and field age group records as compiled by Dominique Eisold.

Event 18  Women 2 Mile
        NBIG:   9:10.50  2008        Meseret Defar, ETH                         
       World:   9:06.26  2/26/2009   Meseret Defar, ETH                         
    American:   9:23.38  2/13/2002   Regina Jacobs, Nike                        
    World Jr:   9:34.03  1/27/2002   Meseret Defar, ETH                         
 High School:   9:55.92  3/10/1991   Melody Fairchild, Boulder,                 
    Name                    Year Team                    Finals                 
  1 Tirunesh Dibaba              ETH                    9:13.17  8:38.44 (3000m)
  2 Sheila Reid                  CAN                    9:37.97                 
  3 Mary Cain                    USA                    9:38.68  9:04.51 (3000m)
  4 Nicole Sifuentes             CAN                    9:38.78                 
  5 Tara Erdmann                 USA                    9:39.48                 
  6 Sarah Bowman                 USA                    9:41.59                 
  7 Ashley Higginson             USA                    9:49.00                 
  8 Brenda Martinez              USA                    9:51.91                 
  9 Gotytom Gebreslase           ETH                   10:05.40                 
 -- Mardrea Hyman                JAM                        DNF


PS. We think Cain’s last 400 was approximately in the 65-66 range

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