Q&A: Jesse Garn

May 1, 2017

Jesse Garn is off to a hot start this spring in his first year running with the HOKA NJ*NY Track Club. He opened his season with a victory in the 1500 at the Sam Howell Invitational with a time of 3:47.25. A couple weeks later at the Larry Ellis Invitational, once again in Princeton, NJ – He would run 1:45.96 for a big personal best. And Garn would follow that fantastic run with a decisive win at the Penn Relays, in a mile time of 4:00.83. We catch up with him!


Was running 1:45 a surprise? Did you think you were ready to run that fast?

A: I actually did. Things have been going really well in practice and I did a workout the week before that really ensured me that I was ready to PR. I wasn’t positive if that meant going under 1:46, but knew I could run well. Confidence came with the good workouts. Gags told me to compete and I liked that it was low pressure situation for my 800 opener. Having Chris [Giesting] as a training partner and being side-by-side with him during the race certainly helped.

How did the race at Penn Relays play out?

A: It actually wasn’t great tactically. I have always struggled a bit more with the 1500 and mile compared to the 800 since the speed side just comes naturally. During the first half mile I was dozing off a bit, but woke up the second half. The plan was to just sit and kick. No one really went with the rabbit and I sat back in the chase pack. My last 400 was 55.x so I really did it with a good close. It was insanely cool to win a race in front of 47,000 people.

Do you see yourself as more of an 800 or 1500 guy? What about long term?

A: Right now I see myself as an 800 guy, but that has a lot to do with my history of training and consistency [or lack thereof] with staying healthy. Speed stuff comes naturally, and because of little ding ups, I haven’t had the strength and volume to perform in the mile like I’d hope. But long term with more steady and healthy training I believe my ceiling is higher in the mile.

Being from upstate and attending Binghamton, was staying in state important to you?

A: Towards the end of the summer I was talking to a few different clubs and I wasn’t ready for a big move across the country. That and I just loved the club. Westchester is a lot different from upstate, but my sister goes to school at Iona and it’s good to have a familiar face nearby. It helped make the transition easy.  

Has there been a transition to downstate?

A: Not really. The only thing that’s that different is rather than doing schoolwork, I am working part time at a physical therapist’s office called Fitness and Recovery of Eastchester. Besides work and training, I haven’t had enough time to explore.

What’s your mileage like? How about your top-end speed?

A: I hover around 50 miles per week with cross-training built in. I think I could probably run 22 low for a 200 on the fly. I have never split under 48 in a relay but am pretty certain I am capable of 47 now.

What’s your current living situation?

A: I live in a really cool old house in White Plains with Will, Graham, Chris, Joe and Brian – It’s good. It’s actually originally built in 1685 and was the dowry house of the Philipse family. George Washington stayed and presided over a court martial here and it used to belong to the guy who sculpted the Grant Memorial in DC.

I lived in a big house in college with teammates as well. It’s nice to be on the same schedule as your roommates. We try to go to bed on time and hold each other accountable.

What’s it like running under Gags?

A: It’s awesome! As a collegiate athlete in New York, you would hear rumors and see him around at meets. I knew the NJNY guys before joining and they would say everyone comes up to him at meets and shakes his hand and pays their respect. It’s cause he’s been around so long and has helped so many people in their running careers. He has so much knowledge and experience. It’s a very unique and hands on approach his emotional investment really shows. I feel like when I race now, I am racing for Gags.

What upcoming races can we expect to see you in soon?

A: Tentatively, I will be at the Oregon Twilight for an 800. Then in a couple weeks I will head to Atlanta to do an 800 and 1500. But all eyes are on the USA meet in Sacramento!

Get connected and stay in the know! Follow HOKA NJNYTC (Instagram and Twitter) and Jesse (Instagram and Twitter).