The 2015 New York City Armory Invitational one-mile run on Saturday will feature a star-studded roster. A silver medalist from the 2012 London Olympics and a participant from the 2013 World Track & Field championships are just two of the weekend competitors. But the nine-runner event is also set to feature Binghamton senior Jesse Garn, one of only three collegiate runners chosen to participate.
“My coach told me that I was going to be in this race and I thought ‘Okay, cool,’” Garn said. “It is going to be paced to hopefully run a personal best in the mile, but we didn’t see the start list until last week. When I saw that, it was really impressive. It looks good.”
The Invitational is Garn’s first major competition of 2015 and will receive national coverage from NBC Sports Network. Garn will measure his ability against world-renowned runners, including Galen Rupp, who captured the silver medal in the 10,000 meter race at the 2012 Olympics in London.
“Jesse certainly earned this opportunity, but I think it also represents our commitment to helping our athletes achieve at the highest level,” Binghamton head coach Annette Acuff wrote in an email. “You need to experience racing with the best if you want to be the best…Jesse has worked very hard over the last three and a half years to get to this level.”
Garn is coming off of one of the strongest seasons in Binghamton’s men’s track and field program history. He earned the men’s most outstanding track athlete honors at the America East Indoor Championships and competed in the Millrose Games, a prestigious track and field event. He broke a four-minute mile on March 1, running a personal best 3:59.37 mile at the Boston/Last Chance meet.
These experiences have Garn feeling prepared for the upcoming invitational.
“I just feel more confident going into it,” Garn said. “I’ve gone through the process a couple of times now. This meet I am more excited than nervous to take on some guys that are higher caliber than I am.”
Though he did not qualify for last year’s NCAA championship, Garn’s fresh start with the Armory Invitational will ignite his focus on earning a bid to this year’s final meet, as he hopes to record a new personal best this weekend.
“Last year, my signature race came in Boston when I broke four minutes in the mile,” Garn said. “That is still my personal best and I didn’t make it to the NCAA championships. They take the top 16 and I was 19 or 21 — right around there. I think that going into this meet, place isn’t going to be a huge factor. A good place would go along with a fast time … I certainly want to improve on my best. I want to run a personal best in the mile and hit an NCAA qualifying time.”