Absegami High School and Monmouth University graduate Ford Palmer had a night to remember on the track Friday at The Armory in New York City.
Ford and his HOKA One One professional teammates broke a 24-year-old indoor best mark in the 4x1-mile relay with a time of 16 minutes, 12.81 seconds at the Artie O’Connor College Invitational. The HOKA team surpassed the old mark by nearly 4 seconds, and Palmer ran his leg in 3:59.5.
The International Association of Athletics Federations doesn’t officially recognize the event as a world record.
“When I got the baton, I just let natural instinct take over,” said the 26-year-old who now lives in Sleepy Hollow, New York. “It reminded me of running the event back at Absegami. We won states my junior year. A lot of my current teammates don’t understand it because they didn’t run for such a prestigious high school program like Absegami.”
Palmer ran the second leg of the race, and he covered the first 200 meters in just 27 seconds.
“That was ambitious of me,” he said. “The crowd got me energized. They were very loud for the whole 16 minutes that we ran.”
Palmer “isn’t 100 percent committed” to seeking qualification for the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, but he does have his sights set on the United States Association of Track and Field Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, California, in late June.
“That’s my immediate goal — to represent the U.S. in that event,” Palmer said.