Nov. 20, 2013: While most Bronxville seniors have been agonizing over the college process this fall, Mary Cain has had much more on her mind. Cain, who joined the Bronxville track team five years ago, has established herself as an elite runner and was struggling with the decision whether to continue as an amateur in college or join the ranks of the pros. Last Friday, at the World Athletics Gala in Monaco, Cain announced her decision to turn pro.
"It was definitely a hard decision to turn professional," said Cain in an IAAF website interview on Friday. "Over the summer I didn't really think too much about it because at the time I was focused on running."
During the fall, Cain was looking at a few schools and had narrowed her choice down to University of Oregon, but in the end, she decided to join the Oregon Project in Portland. Cain, a straight-A student at Bronxville High School, will likely attend the University of Portland.
"Some people might say that I won't have as much fun by turning pro early," explained Cain in the IAAF interview, "but I've had such an amazing year. I was looking at both options and both were great, but I wanted to continue what I've been doing and I felt that the next step was to go pro."
Cain will continue to train under Alberto Salazar at the Oregon Project, a group formed by Nike in Portland to promote American long-distance runners. It is expected that she will sign a contract with Nike.
"I love the group I am with in the Oregon Project," added Cain in the IAAF interview. "It's a great group and I have a really good time around them. For me, I think it will be good to be around them but at college I will stay on campus so I will still get that college experience. It is an older group that I am with so I will have my younger friends and my older friends. It'll be good."
Cain, who swam with the Bronxville swim team in the fall of seventh grade, switched to running in the spring and immediately made her mark. As a young middle schooler, she qualified for the New York State Championships in the 3000m, finishing seventh in the small school division. By the summer of her sophomore year, she was competing against world-class athletes at the World Junior Championships in Barcelona, setting the US high school record in the 1500m. Last October, Cain left the Bronxville team to train with Salazar, and since then she has broken countless records. She holds both the high school and junior records in the indoor 1500m, 3000m, mile, and two-mile and also holds the outdoor records in the 800m and 1500m.
Cain did not compete this fall but was often seen down at the track at Chambers Field working on her form. She works hard, running up to 60 miles per week. It might be a grueling schedule for some, but Cain seems to truly enjoy it.
"Yes, I am going pro and that is a big step. It will be hard," remarked Cain on the IAAF website. "But as long as I am having fun with it still, that is all that I care about. That has always been my goal."
Pictured here: Mary Cain.
Photo by Jim Hudson