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Episode 259: Mary Cain

Mary Cain joins me on the podcast today! Mary was the youngest American athlete ever to represent the United States at a World Championships meet after competing in the 2013 World Championships at 17. While still a high school student she  was recruited by the well known coach Alberto Salazar to run with the Nike Oregon Project. During her time there, she won the 1500m at the US Indoor Championships and won the 3000m at the World Junior Championships.

Mary ended up leaving the Nike Oregon Project in 2016 and came out with her story about her time there in this NY Times video op-ed last fall. (Now viewed over 1.4 million times). In the video/article she shares about the emotional and physiological abuse she suffered under coach Alberto Salazar. She was pressured to weight a specific amount and told that she wasn’t ready to compete unless she did. In those dark times, Mary battled an eating disorder and had thoughts of suicide that lead to cutting herself.

Mary now lives in NYC with her boyfriend and works for Tracksmith and the New York Road Runners while building up miles and base to run competitively again. She is coached by Jon Henwood- who sounds like an amazing guy that was one big piece of the puzzle to getting her help when she was struggling at the NOP.

In this episode Mary and I get into what sharing her story in that NYT piece meant to her, we talk about her time at NOP and what the other side of that looks like. We also get a short guest appearance from her boyfriend where I ask what his favorite thing about Mary is. I think that’s my new favorite thing to do. Mary was so kind to stay on for an extended conversation for our patreon supporters and you can find there over at


Show Notes:

Mary’s Dietitian – Rise up Nutrition 


The Ballard of Songbirds and Snacks (New Hungry Games Book)

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