Heading into the 2024 Olympic Marathon Trials, the consensus was that there was no consensus: Anyone could make the team.
And the races delivered big time, with topsy-turvy place changes and unexpected finishes on both the men’s and women’s side. In the men’s race, Conner Mantz and Clayton Young, the top two seeds in the field, did come away with the top two places, but the surprising news was who wasn’t in the mix, as two sub-2:09 seeds – Scott Fauble and Sam Chelanga – dropped out and reigning champion Galen Rupp struggled to a 16th-place finish.
Before Clayton Young’s 2:08:00 breakthrough in Chicago last fall, the ASICS runner’s marathon career had gotten off to a fairly rocky start. Young debuted in Atlanta in 2020 but only managed a 2:29:46 for 136th place, and in his first Chicago the following year, he was on track for a top-10 finish before falling only 300 meters from the finish line and losing 3 minutes and 5 places. Along the way, he’d picked up a few wins at shorter road races including a pair of national titles in 2023, but it wasn’t until last fall when he entered the conversation of potential Olympic contenders.
Young, who trains with Mantz in Utah, had a smoother buildup than his training partner (who dealt with a stress reaction in November) and seemed to be the most in control of all the leaders at each point in the race. He’s gotta get bonus points for sportsmanship as well, offering his training partner a pull from his water bottle after Mantz missed one of his own and hyping up the crowd even as he got passed in the final few strides.
Host: Chris Chavez | instagram.com/chris_j_chavez
Host: Kyle Merber | instagram.com/kylemerber
Host: Eric Jenkins | instagram.com/_ericjenkins
Guest: Clayton Young | instagram.com/_clayton_young
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