2024 US Olympic Trials Marathon

Conner Mantz And Clayton Young Lead Charge At U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Conner Mantz And Clayton Young Lead Charge At U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

Conner Mantz and Clayton Young head into the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials on Saturday as the favorites

Jan 29, 2024 by Maxx Bradley
Conner Mantz And Clayton Young Lead Charge At U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials

The months leading up to the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials have been anxiety-inducing, but race day is nearly upon us.

From the intense back-and-forth exchanges between the Athlete Advisory Board and the Greater Orlando Sports Commission, to the uncertainty on exactly how many American men will be toeing the line this summer in Paris, the build-up to the trials has been nothing short of newsworthy.

That being said, we are just a few days out of the Trials, and there are certainly a few storylines at play.


The Young Guns

Conner Mantz, 27, and Clayton Young, 30, will step to the line on Saturday as the two fastest men in the field during the qualifying window. Mantz, a two-time national champion while at Brigham Young University, finished sixth at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon back in October. He was the top American and crossed in 2:07:47, which is tied for fourth on the all-time U.S. list.

Young, an NCAA champion himself while also attending BYU, was just a few spots behind his former college teammate and training partner, finishing seventh in 2:08:00, which was good enough for a U.S. No. 7 standing all-time among American men. 

Both of Ed Eyestone's former studs left the 'Windy City' with lifetime bests, and most importantly, unlocked two American spots for Paris 2024.

Following superb performances in Chicago just months ago, the Provo-based training partners would love nothing more than to claim the spots they earned on Saturday and officially punch their ticket to the Olympics.

However, they are both well-aware that nothing is earned in the sport, especially when the marathon is the distance of choice. Both are looking more than prepared, just check out this workout:

The Veterans

While some of the field is preparing for their first-ever U.S. Olympic Trials, there are more than a few experienced marathoners that have been here before and are accustomed to the pressure.

One of those men is none-other than Galen Rupp, the two-time Olympic medalist and current/former American record holder.

Rupp has run his fair share of marathons, with the 2024 Trials marking his 15th attempt on the brutal race. 

Not only is he a veteran at the distance, but he's also qualified for two Olympic marathons -- Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 -- and competed at the 2022 World Athletics Championship. 

After battling a nagging back injury, Rupp returned to the marathon in October, was one of four Americans under 2:09 and ran 2:08:48 in his return. 

Rupp will see some familiar faces in Orlando, as fellow marathon veterans Sam Chelanga, Scott Fauble and CJ Albertson are all jockeying for a spot as well. 

The 38-year-old Chelanga is coming off a 2:08:50 from the 2023 Chicago Marathon, which shaved over six minutes off of his previous best along the way. 

Fauble's most recent marathon unfortunately ended with a 'DNF', but a seventh-place finish at Boston last year paired with a 2:08:52 personal best from 2020 says he's in the mix as well. 

For Albertson, this will be his fourth marathon since April. After finishing 12th in Boston, he ran and won both the California International Marathon (CIM) and the Baja California California on back-to-back weekends in December, running 2:11:09 and 2:11:08, respectively. 

Any of these four men could see themselves in the final three come Saturday, but despite none of them having the Olympic Standard, they could still snag one of two guaranteed spots thanks to their sub-2:11:30 performances during the qualifying window. And a third auto-spot could get unlocked if an athlete runs 2:08.10 or faster on the day. 

A few of the many notable names to keep an eye out include Elkanah Kibet, Zach Panning, Leonard Korir, and Futsum Zienasellassie.

The gun goes off for the men at 10:10 a.m. EST on Saturday, with the women following close behind at 10:20 a.m. EST. 

You can tune in live on Peacock, with coverage starting at 10:00 a.m. EST, and NBC will begin broadcasting at noon.