Mary Decker Slaney

Birthday: 08/04/58 Mile PR: 4:16.71 - 1985 (U.S. record & former WR)
Metric Mile (1500m) PR: 3:57.12 - 1983
High School: Orange HS (CA)
Hometown: Bunnvale, NJ
College: University of Colorado
Current Residence: Eugene, OR

Mary Decker Slaney is a four-time U.S. Olympic team member (1980, 1984, 1988 & 1996) and the only athlete ever to hold every U.S. record from 800 meters to 10,000 meters. Slaney won both the 1500 meter and 3000 meter titles at the inaugural 1983 World Championships in Helsinki, and she was the 1983 Sports Illustrated Sportswoman of the Year (the only female Miler to-date) and she appeared on the SI cover 4 times.

Slaney was the first woman to break 4:20 in the outdoor Mile (July 9, 1982) and she currently holds U.S. records in the Mile 4:16.71 and 3000 meters 8:25.83.

In addition, Mary is the only U.S. woman to hold the outdoor Mile world record that she set three times - 1980, '82 and '85. She is also the only woman to hold both the indoor and outdoor Mile world records.

In 1982 over a month period (January 22 - February 19), Mary Decker set the indoor Mile world record an amazing three times (4:24.6, 4:21.47 and 4:20.5, the latter, the longest standing U.S. women’s Mile record ever).

She was the first American woman ranked #1 in the world for the 1500 meters / Mile by Track & Field News - 1983 and also 1985.

Over the course of her decorated career, Slaney set 36 national records and 17 official and unofficial world records from 800 to 10,000 meters and won 11 USA titles.

FUN FACT: Mary Decker won the 1982 Sullivan Award as the “the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States”; she is the only women’s Miler to do so.

FUN FACT II: Mary is tied with fellow Mile legend Hicham El Guerrouj with the fastest track Mile time for a given month with three each, the most by any athlete.

Photo credit: runmoremiles.com / Jeff Johnson

News

Mary Decker and Zola Budd drove women’s athletics forward

July 28, 2016

More than 30 years after their heyday on the track, Decker and Budd still hold national records for the Mile.

By Jason Henderson, The Guardian

For an arena that bills itself as “the greatest stadium in the world”, the Los Angeles Coliseum is badly in need of a facelift. Large cracks caused by...

Read More comments

Mary Decker Slaney still satisfies competitive cravings

June 19, 2015

For the past three years, Slaney has competed in the World Championships of Elliptical Cycling at Palomar Mountain near San Diego, improving her time each year. She’ll be entered again in this year’s competition on Oct. 17.

By Kerry Eggers, Portland Tribune

The world still moves quickly for...

Read More comments

Nine for IX: Runner

August 12, 2013

The latest ESPN Nine for IX documentary takes a look at one of sports most infamous moments, the Mary Decker - Zola Budd collision at the 1984 Olympic Games at 3000 meters; Premiers on ESPN on August 13; directed by former world class runner Shola Lynch, winner of the 1984 Millrose Games Girls'...

Read More comments

Checking in with Mary Decker Slaney

August 04, 2013

"A positive aspect of 1984 is that a lot of Americans came to know what women's running is about, came to know more about women's running, and followed it more."

By John Garcia, ABC 7 Chicago

I probably gave myself away pretty early in the interview when I admitted I was one of those teenage...

Read More comments

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...

Read More comments

After the Fall

October 01, 2009

Many remember Zola Budd as the barefoot prodigy who broke world records, became a symbol of South Africa's oppression, and was blamed for Mary Decker's Olympic nightmare, but her story has more heartbreak, more hard-fought redemption, and considerably more weirdness than the legend.

By Steve...

Read More comments

Running Legend Slaney Settles for Slower Pace

January 30, 2009

By Don Norcross, The San Diego Union Tribune

Mary Slaney wants to run. Not jog. Run.

There is a difference. Jogging is for exercise. Running is for exhilaration. Jogging is comfortable. Running hurts.

But Slaney, America's greatest female middle-distance runner, can't run. Not like she...

Read More comments

She Runs and We Are Lifted

December 26, 1983

Mary Decker is moved by a competitive yearning that rises from so deep in her character that it connects with her will to be loved.

By Kenny Moore, Sports Illustrated

What a glorious conceit it is to pick a Sportsman of the Year. Can anyone really study the ranks of different champions and...

Read More comments

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

ELEVATE
Bring Back the Mile as the premier event in the sport, and increase interest in and media coverage of the Mile for both those who love the distance as well as the general public.

CELEBRATE
Bring Back the Mile to celebrate the storied distance and to recognize the people who made and make the Mile great and to promote Mile events and the next generation of U.S. Milers.

NATIONAL MOVEMENT
Bring Back the Mile to create a national movement for the Mile as America’s Distance,
to inspire Americans to run the Mile as part of their fitness program and to replace the 1600 meters at High School State Track & Field Meets across the country.

Become a Mile Maniac member or a BBTM sponsor today! Join us, and go Mile!

Join Us

Thanks for joining the movement and being a Mile Maniac. We'll keep you up to-date with our Mile wires as well as exclusive contests and opportunities. Help us spread the word by sharing our site and joining us on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram!