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Utah’s Run Elite Program Claims Top Spots at 2024 USA Olympic Trials Marathon, Sending Two to Paris

Author: David S. Johnson, @theavgjorrun

ORLANDO—Run Elite Program’s (REP) Conner Mantz and Clayton Young are headed to the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics, representing Utah in full force after defending their unlocked positions in the Men’s 2024 USA Olympic Marathon Trials, placing first and second respectively!

The excitement as Mantz and Young moved ahead of the pack and closed in on the finish side-by-side was palpable. Young soaked in the moment and cheered back at the crowd during the last 400 meters, finishing second with a time of 2:09:06, while Mantz remained resolute to finish, breaking the tape at 2:09:05.

“I’ve been crying for 20 minutes,” said REP Co-founder, Teammate and Olympian, Jared Ward, who withdrew prior to the race due to hamstring pain. “I don’t think I’ve ever been happier at the finish line in my whole years of racing. It was even better than I imagined when they crossed the line how we dreamed: one-two!”


Two-time Olympian and long-time coach for Mantz and Young, Ed Eyestone, said he could not have planned the way Mantz and Young ran their race any better.

“If I had diagrammed it, that’s the way I would have drawn it up,” said Eyestone.

He explained that the higher level plan was simply, “Chill, Cover, and Close,” which they executed perfectly. After the race, Eyestone said he would add one more c-word to the plan–”Celebrate!”

Working Together to Reach a Dream

Many have asked why Young supposedly “let” Mantz take the first-place spot and why they did not try to break Ryan Hall’s Olympic Marathon Trials record of 2:09:02.

But this race was about much more than glory or setting records. This race was about respect between two training partners and ensuring that both made it to the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics together.

Many saw the infamous high five between the two, when Mantz reached back to Young indicating that it was go-time!


However, during the last couple of miles Young explained that Mantz said, “‘I’m not feeling very well.’ Young simply replied, “Stick right on me.”

Young said that he decided that he could battle it out with Mantz or he could enjoy the moment with him.

“Even though I might have been feeling better, I just wanted to take every step of the way with Conner over the last couple miles,” Young said. “I wouldn’t change it for the world. Conner is the guy who has pulled me this entire build day-in and day-out in practice. He works hard and he deserves this just as much as I do.” In the end, Clayton soaked it in, while Mantz kicked to the finish.

For Mantz and Young, this race was about respect, sportsmanship, humility, friendship, family and the spirit of the Olympic games on full display!

Reflecting on the last few miles of the race, Mantz said, “I’d think, I’m running this mile for my mom, and I’m running this mile for my dad, and this mile for my old [BYU] teammates that I saw on the course, this mile is for my coach, and I ran the last mile for my wife.”

Run Elite Program & Utah Represents in a Big Way

Mantz and Young weren’t the only two Utahns to display the Olympic spirit and represent the Beehive State’s high-level running caliber.

In the Women’s race, Makenna Myler, took seventh place, with a time of 2:26:14—beating out several big-name pros in the field—and only 10 months after giving birth. Similarly, 2018 Boston Marathon Runner-up, Sarah Sellers, placed 14th with a time of 2:30:17 only nine months after giving birth.

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A post shared by Makenna Myler (@benzmakenz)

In the Men’s race, five Utahns placed in the top 25, with three of the five running for REP. All five were coached by either Ed Eyestone or REP Executive Director Isaac Wood. In the Women’s race, three Utahns finished in the top 15, with one of the three running for REP.

Utah athletes made up 20% of the top-25 men, and 20% of the top-15 women.

In all, Utahns represented 6 percent of all athletes in the 2024 USA Olympic Marathon Trials on February 3, 2024. Nearly half of all Utahns that qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials are officially REP athletes or trained with REP athletes.

Utah & REP Athlete Results

Men (171 entries, 227 qualifiers)

1. Conner Mantz 2:09:05 (4:56) (REP)

2. Clayton Young 2:09:06 (4:56) (REP)

13. Connor Weaver 2:13:56 (5:07)

21. Jacob Heslington 2:15:12 (5:10) (REP)

22. Habtamu Cheney 2:15:43 (5:11)

49. Nic Montanez 2:19:09 (5:18)

90. Riley Cook 2:22:53 (5:27)

130. Travis Morrison 2:28:06 (5:39)

DNF Kevin Lynch

DNF Sean O’Connor (REP)

DNF Sam Chelanga

DNS Christian Allen

DNS Jared Ward (REP)

Women (133 entries, 173 qualifiers)

7. Makenna Myler 2:26:14 (5:35) (REP)

12. Savannah Berry 2:29:17 (5:42)

14. Sarah Sellers 2:30:17 (5:44)

39. Tori Parkinson 2:36:43 (5:59)

110. Natalie Callister 2:53:10 (6:37)

DNF Billie Hatch

DNF Sylvia Bedford (REP)

An Idea Brought to Life

“When I dreamt up the idea for REP to support Utah’s running talent, I never imagined the level of success we would have so soon,” said REP Co-founder and Coach Isaac Wood. “It’s an out-of-body experience.”

The Run Elite Program is a non-profit professional running team with a mission to retain Utah’s professional running talent. Nearly every year, Utah High Schools, Colleges, and University’s win National team or individual titles in Track & Field and Cross Country. In the past, many of these athletes stopped running after college or moved out of state to further a professional career—until now!

“I’m so grateful for the support of Jared Ward and Landon Southwick, REP’s other two Co-founders,” said Wood. “When I originally approached Jared about starting the first professional running team in Utah, we knew we were on to something good.”

REP is grateful for the support of Intermountain Healthcare, the Utah Sports Commission, our team and upcoming athletes, and many others who put in tireless hours to make this dream a reality.

“What a huge day for running in the State of Utah,” said Co-Founder Landon Southwick. “Our high schools, colleges, and University’s compete at the highest levels–winning national championships. Conner and Clayton are products of Utah running, and now they’ve taken it to the next level as the best in the nation. Don’t sleep on Utah!”

Photo: Thomas Hengge

About the Author

Born a sprinter, but converted to distance running in adulthood, David has run for more than 30 years in track, triathlons and marathons. He squeaked in a sub-3 marathon PR of 2:59:44.

David serves as an advisor with the Run Elite Program and is the Vice Chair of the board. He is the author and founder of The Average Joe Runner blog and website. You can follow his running adventures at and @theavgjoerun.

Photos courtesy of Run Elite Program, Landon Southwick, Jared MurphyDavid Johnson, and Thomas Hengge.