Conner Mantz, Clayton Young Unlock Olympic Marathon Qualifying Spots

By Kyle Merber

October 11, 2023

On the count of three, all male American marathoners repeat after me, “Thank you Conner Mantz and Clayton Young!” But no one should be more thankful than the NBC commentary crew who won’t have to fully explain the nuances of the Olympic marathon selection.

It’s not that no American man could run under the Olympic standard, it is just that none of them had. Realistically there are maybe six-ish guys right now who on their best days could dip under 2:08:10. And between the hills and bridges of Boston and New York, which prove a siren song for American ‘thoners every damn year, there have been limited opportunities to get it done.

There are three theoretical spots for Americans on the starting line in Paris. This weekend only unlocked two. But that’s still better than zero. There’s a possibility that we can get that third spot in one of three ways: an American place in the top five in New York; an American running under 2:08:10 somewhere else; or an American winding up the top 64 on the descending order list.

It’s frustrating that the Road To Paris has not been published yet so we are operating on ~vibes~ more than data. However, Matt McDonald’s 2:10:34 in addition to his 2:10:17 in Boston seems promising. The downside of relying on ranking is that the third potential qualifier is going to have a very difficult time answering his Facebook friends who want to know if he made an Olympic team or not.

Conner Mantz, Clayton YoungConner Mantz, Clayton Young

Kevin Morris / @KevMoFoto

Furthermore, in order to qualify for the possibility of one of the three spots, an athlete has to have run under 2:11:30 during the window (since November 1, 2022). So if your name is not: Conner Mantz, Clayton Young, Galen Rupp, Sam Chelanga, Brian Shrader, Matt McDonald, Joel Reichow, Andrew Colley, Kevin Salvano, Lenny Korir, Elkanah Kibet, Futsum Zeinasellassie, Biya Simbassa, Elkanah Kibet, Zach Panning, Josh Izewski, or Teshome Mekonen, then you will need to do it ASAP or in Orlando.

Pray it’s not a scorcher! Though even on a hot day, it should hopefully take under 2:11:30 to qualify. For context, Jared Ward ran 2:13:00 for third all the way back in 2016. Admittedly there was less of an impetus for time back in the stone ages when men ran barefoot, drank flat soda for sustenance, and were fully convinced compression socks did something.

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Kyle Merber

After hanging up his spikes – but never his running shoes – Kyle pivoted to the media side of things, where he shares his enthusiasm, insights, and experiences with subscribers of The Lap Count newsletter, as well as viewers of CITIUS MAG live shows.