The last time Galen Rupp came to The Armory he was a senior at Central Catholic High School in Portland, Ore.
On Saturday, January 31, the Olympic silver medalist in the 10,000 meters and the centerpiece of the Nike Oregon Project will return to The Armory. He is due to race at the Armory Track Invitational (ATI) on Saturday and will return for the 108th NYRR Millrose Games on Feb. 14. His indoor season will conclude in Birmingham, England a week after that.
Rupp had very little experience running on banked tracks (there are none in Oregon), but he had loads of talent and a very good reason to be in New York City. His coach, Alberto Salazar, was part of a gala lineup that The Armory assembled for the occasion of the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame dedication on Jan. 24, 2004.
In the New Balance Games that day, Rupp took on another high school standout, Josh McDougal, and aimed for the national high school record in the 2-mile.
“The only thing I remember is that I died pretty hard,” Rupp said. “I think we were both talking about going after the 2-mile indoor record and we went for it. But I felt miserable those last couple of laps. I can’t remember what we ran, but (McDougal) beat me pretty good.”
McDougal, of Peru, N.Y., ran 8:50.40. Rupp ran 8:54.45.
Rupp has enjoyed plenty of success indoors the past couple of winters. Last January he broke American records in both the 2-mile (8:07.41) and 5,000 meters (13:01.26). Near the start of 2013, he ran an indoor mile in 3:50.92.
“The last couple of years January has been a pretty good month for me,” Rupp said.
The biggest change in 2015 may be the fact that Rupp is now a father. He and wife Keara welcomed twins Grayson and Emmie last summer.
“Honestly, training is about the same,” Rupp said. “Things haven’t changed too much. I’m lucky that Keara is so amazing with (the babies). She has always understood the things that I need to do as far as my training goes. So just like any family would, with jobs, we make it work.”
Rupp traveled back and forth from meets to Beaverton, Ore. to be with his wife and the two newborns as often as he could last summer. In the fall, the Rupps mapped out how to accommodate schedules and make sure the twins had the care they needed. Two sets of grandparents nearby also came in handy.
“I definitely have to be more disciplined and balance my time better,” Rupp said. “You can’t sit around and play video games (any more).”
That sense of added responsibility and focus on family is something that Rupp takes pride in.
“Focusing on track, it’s a selfish profession,” Rupp said. “You do what you have to do and that’s it. Getting married, having kids, that’s something I’ve looked forward to since I was a little kid. Two great babies that are healthy, I couldn’t ask for more. When you have a bad day or things aren’t going great … then you hear a baby’s laugh or something, it changes everything.”
Rupp has out-fitted his little ones in Oregon Ducks on Saturdays last fall and he said they have recently outgrown their first set and moved up to the six-month sizes.
Rupp is a deeply loyal Oregon football fan and traveled to Dallas to watch his alma mater take on Ohio State in the first NCAA national championship game.
The result didn’t turn out as he’d hoped. The Ducks went in as slight favorites but lost 42-20.
“Obviously, that was hard,” Rupp said. “I thought it would be (our) year.”
Rupp will turn 29 in May and the six-time U.S. 10,000 meters champion has another chance to make it his year. With an IAAF World Championships on the horizon this summer, and Rio de Janiero looming in 2016, Rupp is focused on trying to improve upon his 2012 silver in London.
This week at The Armory, and again on Valentine's Day at the NYRR Millrose Games, Rupp will aim to show that he’s come a long way these past 11 years.
Earlier this month, USA Track & Field announced that both the Armory Track Invitational and the NYRR Millrose Games will make up half of this season’s indoor USATF Championship Series. Both meets at The Armory New Balance Track & Field Center are scheduled to be televised nationally by NBC Sports Network (NBCSN): Armory Track Invitational, 4:30-6:30 p.m. January 31 and NYRR Millrose Games 6-8 p.m. USATF.tv will carry live events from both meets as well.
The Armory Track Invitational (ATI) is a new event featuring some of the country’s finest professional, collegiate and high school athletes and replaces the former Collegiate Invitational. More than 40 collegiate teams and hundreds of high school competitors will compete in the ATI.
Highly-touted middle-distance performers Mary Cain, and Ajee Wilson will clash in the 800m. Matthew Centrowitz, a world silver medalist (1500m), will represent a USA team on a leg of the much-anticipated international distance medley along with teams from Kenya, Ireland, New Jersey-New York TC, and college DMR squads from Columbia, Wisconsin, Mississippi, Duke and Princeton.
Tickets for the Armory Track Invitational are available at tickets.armorytrack.com.
This year’s NYRR Millrose Games promises to be one of the best ever and features the likes of Olympic gold medalist in the pole vault Jenn Suhr, world champion hurdlers Jason Richardson and David Oliver, 2014 World 800m leader Ajee' Wilson along with the “fast and fashionable” Sanya Richards-Ross, who will attempt to break her own Armory Track record of 50.89 in the 400m. Ashton Eaton, the decathlon and indoor pentathlon world record holder, should add plenty of excitement to the New Balance Track and Field Center at The Armory along with many more of the sport’s most decorated athletes yet to be announced.
This marks the fourth NYRR Millrose Games at The Armory and will include the country’s premier professional, college and high school track & field athletes competing on one stage.
Tickets for the NYRR Millrose Games can be purchased at http://Tickets.NYRRMillroseGames.org. Further questions about both meets can be answered by calling The Armory at (212) 923-1803 ext. 7200.