Conner Mantz Targets Sub-2:08 Debut At The Chicago Marathon + Future World Cross Country And Track Plans

The CITIUS MAG Podcast

October 3, 2022

“For the longest time, I thought sub-2:08 was 4:50/mile pace just because that’s what coach Eyestone said one day but he mistyped it in his text message. It’s 4:53 pace, which actually makes me feel a lot more confident in sub-2:08 because this whole time I’ve been thinking sub-4:50 per mile not even thinking that I should check his math out on my own. I think sub-2:08 is reasonable. I know my strengths are and I know where I’m good.”

Two-time NCAA cross country champion Conner Mantz is getting ready to make his marathon debut this weekend at the Chicago Marathon. In the past 12 months, he earned national titles in the half marathon and 20K. He’s got a 1 :00:55 second personal best for the half marathon, which puts him at No. 9 on the all-time U.S. list so there’s plenty of excitement over his potential in the marathon. We talked all about that, his expectations for the race, how much he wants to focus on track or cross country in the future and much more. Plus, we get some NCAA cross country predictions from him.

You can now listen to our conversation on The CITIUS MAG Podcast. Catch the latest episode of the podcast on Apple Podcasts. We are also on Stitcher, Google Play and Spotify.

conner mantz


– “I definitely think I’ll be running on the track, running cross country and probably running another marathon come next year. That’s the plan as of right now…Coach Eyestone, when he was professional, would be able to do World Cross, the World Championships in the 10,000m and then maybe he’d run a marathon in the same year. Why limit yourself to one event only? That’s how I see it in my mind. Why would I limit myself to being only a track guy when the marathon might be my best event right now?”

– “Why Chicago? Coach Eyestone crushed it there. It’s a fast one. It’s in the U.S. and I’ve heard good things about that. Plus, it’s a major. It’s just those simple reasons.”

– “World Cross is something I’ve wanted to do…Every year that it was supposed to happen since 2019, I’ve been wanting to do it. In 2019, I was asking coach Eyestone, ‘Can I also do U.S. Cross?’ And he said, ‘No, not this year.’ Then it just kept getting put off. World Cross is definitely a thing I want to do. That gets me excited. I feel like I did well in the NCAA and I did well against the American talent and some of the foreign talent that was here but I want to see how good I am across the world and competing against the best of the best. I’m better at cross country than I am on the track. Plus, I have more fun with cross country. It’s on the schedule. I would also be excited to run the Houston Half but those are within a week between U.S. cross and Houston. So I don’t think that’s happening. World Cross? I’m excited for that. That’s the next big thing after the marathon.”

– “After the U.S. Championships in the 5000m, I was like, ‘What am I doing? I’m in amazing 5K shape. What if I break 13:00?’ Maybe I could or maybe I couldn’t but I wanted to give it a shot. But there weren’t any fast 5Ks coming up until post-World Championships. Coach said it was either Chicago or this 5K. He’s like, ‘You know what you want.’ I want the marathon….That was probably the best 5K I’ve ever run but there was probably a few things I could improve on. I just wanted to jump in another 5K.”

– “We did an eight-mile projected marathon pace workout – it’s always faster than your marathon pace is but it’s kinda goal marathon pace minus a few seconds. I did that after the 8K USATF Championships. I think I ran 4:47 pace and just felt smooth. It felt like I was barely trying. Then I had another workout not long after that where I was running 4:34 for a tempo. It was six miles and I was just all on my own. Coach Eyestone was there with a stopwatch and I just felt good. As the workouts kept coming, I just got more and more excited.”

– “If you would’ve asked me last week, I would’ve said I want to go for it and go for the sub-2:07 and see what happens. Now, I’m feeling like my mouth is getting a little too fast. I feel like sub 2:08 is really the goal. I would love to go out in 63:30 and see what happens but I know the marathon is a whole different beast in those last six miles. I feel good about sub-2:08 in being a part of the goal and plan. I think coach Eyestone does too.”


Special offers and notices for our CITIUS MAG Podcast listeners:


Article One is an independent eyewear company based in Flint, Mich. with designers with deep roots in running. All their frames are handcrafted in a small village in Northern Italy. Designed with your entire day in mind, Article One takes you from a long run in the morning to drinks on the patio to wind down. Their timeless silhouettes, paired with technical components — like adjustable silicone nose pads, polarized lenses, and spring hinges — create running sunglasses that are standalone. CITIUS MAG listeners get 20% off using CITIUS at checkout at


Tracksmith is an independent running brand inspired by a deep love of the sport. For years, the brand has elevated running wear, using best-in-class materials in timeless silhouettes that perform at the highest level. Now they’re doing the same with footwear. The Eliot Runner was developed to meet the rigorous demands of committed runners, providing the perfect balance of cushioning and responsiveness with classic Tracksmith style. See the Eliot Runner in person at Tracksmith’s Pop-Ups at the London and Chicago Marathons and their Boston store this fall before an exclusive opportunity to pre-order on October 24th. Learn more about the Eliot Runner by visiting

Get free shipping by using code CITIUSMAG at checkout & 5% of the sale will benefit the Release Recovery Foundation, a nonprofit supporting those in need of substance abuse and mental illness treatment through scholarships. Learn more about the Release Recovery Foundation here.


VELOUS is an active recovery footwear brand designed to help you restore, revive & Reenergize before and after you train. Two years in development, this team has created the world’s most comfortable, supportive and lightweight active recovery shoe in the world. Get 20% off using code CitiusMag20


Garmin is running sales on its Forerunner series this summer and just came out with their new Forerunner 255 and 955, which Runner’s World calls their GPS “more accurate than ever.” Music. Training. Data. The Garmin Forerunner 245 Music is my also one of my favorite running partners. You do the running. This GPS running smartwatch does the thinking. It even gets to know you and your body better, mile after mile and song after song. Get one for yourself here


If you are a coach, Final Surge makes planning and analyzing workouts simple and helps streamline communication with your athletes. If you’re an athlete out there hammering miles and tempo runs solo with no guidance or direction, Final Surge is also here to offer up some world-class training programs. Check out their offerings today: FINALSURGE.COM – USE CODE CITIUS FOR 10% OFF.


Subscribe and leave a review on Apple Podcasts or Spotify. Rating and reviews help new people discover the show and let future sponsors know what you think!

– You can also pledge any monthly support for us on Patreon or give a one-time donation by shooting us anything on Venmo – @CITIUSMAG. Your assistance helps us plan for future events like the upcoming U.S. Championships and World Championships.

Pick up merch from the CITIUS MAG store to show your support for the podcast and website.

Chris Chavez

Chris Chavez launched CITIUS MAG in 2016 as a passion project while working full-time for Sports Illustrated. He covered the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and grew his humble blog into a multi-pronged media company. He completed all six World Marathon Majors and is an aspiring sub-five-minute miler.