BOTH TRAINING PARTNERS AND RIVALS MANTZ AND YOUNG ARE READY FOR CHICAGO MARATHON
By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2023 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved, used with permission.
CHICAGO (06-Oct) — At the Faxon Law New Haven Road Race earlier this month in Connecticut, Conner Mantz and Clayton Young ran stride for stride over the final kilometer to see who would win the USATF 20-K title. The two former teammates at Brigham Young University, who train together under BYU coach Ed Eyestone, had to switch to competitor mode from their usual roles as supportive training partners who have long conversations about everything from their religious faith to mechanical engineering. In the end, Young won by less than a second and immediately emphasized Mantz’s role in his victory.
“Mantz is an incredible training partner,” Young told Race Results Weekly that day. “He is the one leading just about every workout. He’s the real workhorse, so I owe him a big credit for this race.”
Like Formula 1 drivers who are on the same team, Mantz and Young are equal parts training partners and competitors. They see each other nearly every day, attend the same church, push each other in practice, and lift each other up when the miles get tough. But when the gun goes off, they are keen but respectful rivals.
“It’s funny because it’s like great when we’re training together, but in a race –I don’t know– I want to beat him,” Mantz told reporters at a press conference here today. “It was a little weird after the USATF 20-K Championships because he was like, ‘Oh yeah, let’s run it in together.’ But then he had to think, this isn’t like college where that’s the thing. This is pro-life.”
Managing that competitive tension is something that will come into play here on Sunday. Both athletes want the Paris 2024 Olympic qualifying standard of 2:08:10, and by running together, they can help each other to achieve that goal. But they also want to place as high as possible, so sticking together may or may not be the best move depending on how the race unfolds.
“I can see us maybe looking out for each other maybe the first 20 or so miles or even more for sure, but I think we learned that it will be an all-out kick to the finish at the end of the day,” Young told Race Results Weekly in an interview here today.
Mantz sees the situation the same way.
“In training, we’re training partners,”…