Conner Mantz

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2019 NCAA Cross Country Championship/Courtesy

Conner Mantz is a United States champion distance runner. Mantz and Clayton Young—training partners, former BYU collegiate champions and Utah natives—qualified for the 2024 Olympics hosted in Paris, France.

On Saturday, February 3, 2024, Mantz and Young finished 1-2, respectively, in the nationally televised U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando, Florida. Mantz finished the fourth marathon of his life with a time of 2:09:05, one second ahead of Young.

They become the third and fourth Utahns to qualify for the Olympic marathon, all four of them former BYU runners, Utah natives and former church missionaries. Ogden native Ed Eyestone, the BYU coach who coaches Mantz and Young, made the team in 1988 and 1992. Jared Ward, from Kaysville, made the team in 2016.

Mantz and Young were pre-race favorites by virtue of their performances in last fall’s Chicago Marathon, where they ran the fourth and seventh fastest times ever by Americans — 2:07:47 and 2:08:00[1]

Professional Running

After winning the 2020 and 2021 NCAA cross-country championships, he turned professional and signed a contract with Nike. In the following months, he transitioned to road racing and won two national championships — the 2021 U.S. Half-Marathon Championships and the 2022 U.S. 20K championships — while also finishing runner-up in the 2022 U.S. 8K Championships.

On October 9, 2022, Mantz entered the Chicago Marathon—among the six most prestigious marathons in the world—and placed seventh overall, first among Americans. His time of 2:08:16 made it the fastest debut marathon ever by an American-born runner.

His time could have been faster, as Mantz described in a Deseret News article.

He and his coach, Ed Eyestone, targeted a sub-2:08 performance. Race organizers assigned a pacesetter for Mantz through 18 miles. The pacer was instructed to run a 4:50-per-mile pace, which translates to about a 2:07:44 marathon.
But the plan quickly fell apart. “Through the first four miles, we were hitting 4:56 to 4:58,” says Mantz. “That doesn’t sound too bad, but it adds up over four miles. It got us off pace. I was telling him to go faster. He told me to relax. He thought we were on pace.”
The pacesetter was supposed to tow Mantz through 18 miles, but Mantz decided to take matters into his owns hands and passed him at 10 kilometers (6.2 miles). He wound up setting the pace himself for the chase pack into a headwind.
He churned out sub-4:50 miles and managed to get back on his targeted pace, hitting the half-marathon in 1:03:45. He covered the 5,000-meter split from the 10K to the 15K in 14:52 — a 2:05:28 marathon pace. It proved to be too much. “I sped up so much that it took something out of me,” says Mantz, who said he was gassed by the time he reached the final mile of the race.
Says Mantz, “It was frustrating. I trained so hard for this and then to be consistently slower because of (the pacing). … I think it cost me some time. Given all that, I’m pretty pleased.”[2]

Mantz competed in the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships held in Eugene, Oregon, from July 6 through 8, 2023, where he placed sixth in the 10,000 meters. He has not yet qualified for a U.S. World Championships or Olympic team on the track, although he has come close. He finished fourth in the 5,000 — one spot from qualifying — and seventh in the 10,000 at last year’s national championships on this same track. He was fifth in the 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials at 10,000 meters.

"He won two road races in Connecticut last fall — the national 20k championships in New Haven, and the 86th Manchester Road Race — then placed sixth in the Houston Half-Marathon in January (first American), fourth in an international 10K track race in California in a personal record 27:25.30 and closed May by winning the 43rd Bolder Boulder 10K in Colorado. In June, he raced to a personal-record time of 3:37.92 in a 1,500-meter track race (which converts to a 3:55 mile)."[3] He also ran in the 2022 Boston marathon, and placed 11th with a time of 2:10:25. "He was running with the leaders when he reached the halfway point in 1:02:20. He continued to run strong, covering Mile 15 in 4:25, but he began to fall off the pace a short time later and by Mile 20 he was 45 seconds behind the five leaders. At Mile 24 he ran into trouble." But he managed to finish.

“There were moments where I started to black out,” he said afterward. He said he had to “slow it down” and that at one point he was almost walking."[4]

College Running

As an elite college distance runner, he won the individual national title at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in November 2021, his second consecutive win. He finished the Men's 10K in 28:33.1. The Brigham Young University men’s team finished in seventh place overall. In June 2021, he placed second in the 10,000m at the NCAA Division I Championships.

Mantz placed fourth in the men’s 10,000-meter race at the 2019 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Austin, Texas. He placed third in the 10K at the 2019 DI Men’s NCAA Cross Country championship and led his BYU team to take their first-ever men’s cross country national championship. He is one of many athletes mentored by Ed Eyestone and his team. The 2019 DI Men’s win made Eyestone the first person to win and coach a national cross country championship in the history of the collegiate sport.

On September 30, 2021, the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) named Mantz National Athlete of the Week after he won the individual title for BYU at the Bill Dellinger Invitational.

Mantz was born in Logan, Utah, and is from Smithfield. Before running for BYU, he was a three-time Footlocker All-American and a member of the 2015 USA Junior World Cross Country Championships team.

He served as a full-time missionary in Ghana for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As a missionary, he did not run and gained about 30 pounds. In training after completing his mission, he became faster and stronger.