Francie Larrieu Smith

Birthday: 11/23/52 Mile PR: 4:27.52 - 1979
Metric Mile (1500m) PR: 4:05.09 - 1976
High School: Fremont HS, Sunnyvale, CA '70
Hometown: Palo Alto, CA
College: Cal State Long Beach / UCLA
Current Residence: Georgetown, TX

Francie Larrieu Smith was the first U.S. woman to break 4:30 in the Mile outdoors when she ran 4:28.2 in Mainz, Germany on June 28, 1977. The five-time U.S. Olympic team member also was the first U.S. woman sub-4:30, an indoor world record of 4:29.0 on February 15, 1975 in San Diego.

Francie won a total of 22 national titles over the course of her long, distinguished career starting at the age of 17 when she won the AAU 1500m in 1970. Larrieu Smith continued her success as the 1500m-1 Mile national champion in '72-73, '76-77 and '79-80, the AAU indoor Mile champion in 1975, '77-79 and the AIAW 1 Mile champion in 1974. 

In March 1975, Francie set a world record of 4:28.5 in the Mile at the U.S.-Soviet Union indoor meet and over the course of her brilliant career set the U.S. Mile outdoor record six times, the most of any American, and the indoor Mile & 1500m world record four times (the most by any gender). To cap her decorated career, she was selected as the 1992 U.S. Olympic team flag bearer for the opening ceremony in Barcelona, Spain, the host city of the Summer Games.

Larrieu Smith was the Head Men's & Women's Cross Country and Track & Field Coach at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX; she retired in May 2018.

FUN FACT: Francie's brother Ron Larrieu was a 1964 Olympian in the 10,000 meters.

FUN FACT II: The Mile legend was also selected "The Most Versatile Runner of the Quarter Century" by Runner's World magazine in 1999.

FUN FACT III: Larrieu was the first American woman (and second overall) to record a sub-4:30 Mile (4:27.52 PR) and a sub-2:30 marathon (2:27:35 PR)! The three other Americans in this exclusive club are: Molly Huddle, Jordan Hasay and Sara Vaughn.


Mile legend, coach & Olympian Francie Larrieu Smith: Texas Sports Hall of Fame inductee

July 22, 2020

“I can look back on my career and say that, honestly, it never occurred to me that I lacked opportunity, because I was doing exactly what I wanted to do.”

By Brice Cherry, Waco Tribune-Herald

It probably will come as a shock to those in the track & field community, but Francie Larrieu Smith...

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Larrieu Smith named to Pac-12 All-Century Team

November 24, 2015

Mile legend was also selected "The Most Versatile Runner of the Quarter Century" by Runner's World magazine in 1999.

From Southwestern Pirates

Francie Larrieu Smith was named to the Pac-12 Conference's All-Century Team for women's cross country, the league office announced on Tuesday. Larrieu...

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Going Head to Head: Who is the Greatest Miler in History?

September 20, 2012

By Barbara Huebner, NYRR News

Some of the greatest Milers in the world have won the Fifth Avenue Mile presented by Nissan, which will be run for the 32nd time on Saturday. Sydney Maree, Steve Scott, Mary Slaney, John Walker, Peter Elliott and Bernard Lagat are among those who have broken the...

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U.S. Flag Borne by True Olympian

July 26, 1992

Patriotism? Discipline? Perspective? Chalk `em all up to Francie Larrieu Smith. Who better to represent what the Olympics should be about?

By Dave Hyde, Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel via Chicago Tribune

This is a story about the flag, the Olympic spirit and one proper decision that connected...

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Maverick Francie Larrieu Reigns as the Superwoman of Track

April 21, 1975

“I’m not one of their favorites. They [AAU] have a lot of Mickey Mouse rules that sometimes are a pain in the rear."

By People magazine

Sprawled across the overstuffed couch in her two-bedroom apartment near the UCLA campus, her stringy wet hair wrapped in a towel, Francie Larrieu doesn’t...

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Return the Mile to prominence on the American & worldwide sports and cultural landscape by elevating and celebrating the Mile to create a movement.

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