Mary Cain’s Pro European Debut Ends With Fifth Place Finish As Kenya’s Mary Kuria Gets The Win

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Cain’s last lap was actually the fastest of everyone in the field, but tactical mistakes cost her big time.

by LetsRun.com
July 26, 2013

25-year-old Mary Kuria, the sixth placer at the Kenyan Trials, emerged late to win the women’s 1,500 on day 1 of the Sainbury’s Anniversary Games meet in London in 4:08.77 in a tight race where the top four were separated by just .46.

32-year-old Btissam Lakhouad, who was 4th at Worlds in 2011 but had been struggling this summer and was a DNF in Lausanne, ended up second in 4:08.91. Top American honors went to Katie Mackey in third in 4:09.02 as former Oregon runner Zoe Buckman was fourth in 4:09.23.

Mary Cain pre-race

Mary Cain Pre-Race

What about Mary Cain, you say? The American teen sensation ran a tactically horrible race but closed well to finish fifth in 4:09.77 to catch Morgan Uceny, who let up at the line and was sixth in 4:09.79.

Article continues below player

Quick takes, then results and photos appear below.

LetsRun.com message board discussion appears here: Cain with her first clunker.
*DOWN GOES CAIN DOWN GOES CAIN DOWN GOES CAIN
*Is Cain officially a Pro Now?? She just won $2500..
*Will Mary Cain PR Today??

Quick Take (QT) #1: This race was far from a high quality international affair up front. The leader-to-leader last lap split was just 62.33 (Kuriam was third at the bell, so maybe she ran 62-flat) in a 4:08 race. Compare that to last week’s 1,500 in Monaco, which counted in the Diamond League standings, where Jenny Simpson closed in 59.30 in a 4:00 race.

QT #2: While Cain’s fifth place showing was disappointing in this field which was a bit watered down, we don’t agree with the message board poster “meh,” who started this thread: Cain with her first clunker. 

We don’t think this race was a total clunker for Cain for the following reasons.

1) We timed Cain’s last 400. She had as fast a last 400 as anyone, and by far the fastest last 100. We had her unofficially in about 62.6-7.

Cain ran most of the race in dead last but wasted a lot of energy as she often ran the turns out in lane two as she either was telling herself she was going to try to pass some people or not to run on the rail and get boxed in.

2) Running a tactically horrible race like this is good for Cain as we hope she learns a lot from it. What can she learn?

i) She needs to learn how to run in a pack. Alan Webb never learned how to do it. If we were Alberto Salazar, we’d force her to run some races where the instructions are, “Run in the middle of the pack for three laps, then kick.” Being boxed in isn’t good, but one needs to experience it as it’s hard to always be either up front or in last. We know that in the past Alberto has told her to stay out of trouble, and run in the back, but good luck trying that in a World Championships final. Asbel Kiprop has tried that with little success in the past.

ii) We hope she learns that if you are in a bad position and want to get out of it and make a move, then you must make a move and never give up on it. One of our pet peeves is when runners try to make a move, move up a little bit, find it too crowded and then move back. That’s wasted energy and Cain did that at least once in this race.

QT #3: 2011 world #1 Morgan Uceny was just in front of Cain for most of this race before letting up at the very end.

Rank Athlete Nation Result
1
KEN
4:08.77
2
MAR
4:08.91
3
USA
4:09.02
4
AUS
4:09.23
5
USA
4:09.77
6
USA
4:09.79
7
POL
4:10.00
8
GER
4:10.19
9
GBR
4:10.21
10
USA
4:10.32
11
CAN
4:10.93
12
NED
4:11.28
13
GBR
4:12.42
14
GBR
4:13.30
15
GER
4:15.65
Intermediate Times:
400m: Kuria, Mary (KEN) 1:08.02
 800m: Plis, Renata (POL) 2:17.67
 1,200m: Kuijken, Susan (NED) 3:21.99
Mary Kuria wins

Mary Kuria Wins

Bell lap

Bell Lap


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