2024 US Olympic Trials Marathon

A Quick Story About Conner Mantz's And Clayton Young's Marathon Hats

A Quick Story About Conner Mantz's And Clayton Young's Marathon Hats

You may have noticed that both Conner Mantz and Clayton Young started with caps to begin the U.S. Team Trials marathon. They did not finish with them.

Feb 3, 2024 by Cory Mull
A Quick Story About Conner Mantz's And Clayton Young's Marathon Hats

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Earning a spot on the U.S. Olympic Marathon team is hard enough as it is. What's harder? Running 26.2 miles when it's hot out. 

That's where a good cap comes in. On Saturday at the U.S. Olympic Marathon Team Trials, Conner Mantz and Clayton had a plan. The weather was 61 degrees to start. They knew it would be nearing 70 at the finish. 

They were going to hack the heat. 

"With it being hot and humid and the conditions that they were," said the 30-year-old Young, who normally does not wear hats in races, "I had some ice in it and knew that would be a big play."

That's where those pearly white (ice) caps came into play. 

Mantz, 27, the overall winner in 2 hours, nine minutes and five seconds, said he had a Nike product made especially for him, one that had a pouch for ice cubes. Young, the runner-up who followed his former BYU teammate into the finish a second later in 2:09:06, had a similar ASICS piece. 

The hats ultimately were important. Heading into Saturday's high-stakes race, the U.S. had two guaranteed spots in the marathon claimed for the Paris Olympics, both made made possible by Mantz's and Young's finishes at the Chicago Marathon in October. Neither wanted to the day -- or their hard work -- to be lost. Any little advantage could have made a difference. 

So each had one to start. Neither finished with one on. Mantz was the first to let his go. 

He ditched it 15 minutes into the race. 

"It got a little hot," he said. "I had some ice in there, and the ice wasn't getting cool." 

More ice, he reflected later, that would have solved the issue. 

"I just didn't' want a brain freeze," he added. 

Young, meanwhile, had something different in mind.

The cameras caught him cruising along the Orlando streets for 24 miles in that hat ... actually, that's incorrect. 

The man is a sort of a magician. 

"I actually swapped that out with my bottles," he said. "I don't know if that was caught on footage or that story was told yet, but essentially I got a stainless steel bottles that were within the dimensions of the rules and I stuffed my bottle in an ice hat as well." 

Meaning -- a hat went off, a new hat came on. Young is feeling fresh again! 

The former NCAA 10K champion kept that system going for 24 miles before he left the last cap on the ground and started moving toward the finish.

"I had to give the people what they want," Young said. "The hats were nice with the sun. Obviously, I want to represent who I am and not hide behind a hat and so, maybe it was a good look. I was all smiles going into that finish." 

It was a perfect plan. 

Only, we're missing something still. Those hats, what happened to the hats? 

Here's the juice. 

Each one of them was signed. By the U.S. marathon champion and the U.S. runner-up. Future Olympians. Teammates. Two up-and-coming standouts with big dreams headed for Paris.  

Young thinks there's five race-worn caps out there. Mantz had one. 

"If you have that hat, please take a picture, take a video, we want to share that story," Young said. 

Related Links: 

Fiona O'Keeffe Debuts With Win In Women's U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon

Conner Mantz, Clayton Young Finish 1-2 In U.S. Olympic Trials Men's Marathon

Live Blog: The U.S. Olympic Trials Marathon