Mile News

Mary Cain Is Growing Up Fast

March 04, 2015

“The sooner I go through these growing pains, the better off I’ll be in the long run.”

By Elizabeth Weil, The New York Times Magazine

Mary Cain stood near the starting line with 31 other high-school girls at a track in Greensboro, N.C., in June 2011, waiting to run in the national championships of the 4 x 800 meter relay. With their long ponytails and soft bodies, racing numbers pinned to their hips, none of the girls looked like much — but Cain, a freshman, looked like less. She wore hot pink shorts and a black sports bra, and her shoulders slumped with the impatient awkwardness of being 15. The first two runners from Bronxville, N.Y., Cain’s hometown, ran their 800-meter splits (a little less than half a Mile) in 2 minutes 13 seconds and 2 minutes 14 seconds. The two runners each from the Bishop Guertin Track Club in New Hampshire and the Achilles Track Club in North Carolina logged times within a second of that, because 2:13 is about how long it takes a good female high-school athlete to complete two laps of the track. The third Bronxville runner faded slightly and ran her 800 meters in 2:18. That left Cain, the anchor, shaking out her legs and waiting on the matte black oval.

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