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Puica Easily Defeats Slaney in New York Mile

September 14, 1986

Romania's Maricica Puica, the 1984 Olympic 3,000-meter champion, set a course record while winning the Mercedes Mile on Fifth Avenue in New York, spoiling the comeback of American distance star Mary Decker Slaney.

Puica was timed in 4 minutes 19.48 seconds, clipping more than three seconds off the previous course record of 4:22.6 set by Britain's Wendy Sly in 1983.

By breaking the course mark, Puica earned a new car from the event sponsor.

Slaney, competing for the first time since Sept. 14, 1985--she took time off to give birth to a girl--never was in contention and finished far behind the winner.

Slaney, admittedly not in top form because of bursitis and tendinitis in her left foot, wound up sixth in 4:32.01--more than 12 seconds behind Puica.

"I'm satisfied with my performance, given my condition at this point," Slaney said. "The foot feels fine, it doesn't hurt at all. But it may hurt in a few hours.

"I never like to lose, but when you haven't raced for so long, it's not easy. I didn't expect the others to go out that fast."

Jose Luis Gonzalez, considered the lesser of two Spanish runners in the men's race, staged a furious kick to beat John Walker of New Zealand and countryman Jose Abascal.

Gonzalez was timed in 3:53.52, far off the course record of 3:47.52 set by Sydney Maree in 1981.

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