Latter-day Saint Life

2 Olympics-bound runners boldly testify of faith on CNN: ‘There is more to this life than running’

US Olympic Trial: Track & Field (Marathon)
Conner Mantz (left) and Clayton Young (right) attend a press conference after placing first and second during the 2024 US Olympic Team Trials Marathon on February 3, 2024, in Orlando, Florida.
James Gilbert, Getty Images

In a recent story from CNN, former Brigham Young University distance runners Conner Mantz and Clayton Young spoke about how the gospel of Jesus Christ has impacted their journey in qualifying for the Paris 2024 Olympic Summer Games.

“If only my identity is as a runner or making this Olympic team, it can be very debilitating,” Clayton shared.

The friends have pursued the goal of making it to the Olympics for almost seven years, running more than 10,000 miles together. Clayton’s personal marathon record is two hours and eight minutes, while Connor’s record is two hours, seven minutes, and 47 seconds.

Before meeting in college in 2017, they both served as full-time missionaries for the Church—with Clayton sharing the gospel in Raleigh, North Carolina, and Conner serving in the Ghana Accra West mission.

On February 3, the friends placed first and second at the 2024 US Olympic Team Marathon Trials. To prepare for the upcoming Olympic Games this summer, Clayton plans to compete in the New York City Half Marathon on March 17, while Conner focuses on recovering from a minor injury.

Through the whirlwind of preparing for the Olympics, the friends say their friendship has become deeply supportive and motivating. “We’re able to learn from one another when we’re not running, and then when we are running, we’re able to push each other,” Conner shared.

Clayton agreed, commenting that even when things get competitive, they try to remind themselves that they’re “better together.”

Ultimately, he feels that their faith has helped expand their abilities and keep them centered on what’s most important:

“Through our canonized faith, we’ve realized that we’re more than just a couple of runners, we’re more than just professional athletes. We’re husbands, I’m a father, and we’re ultimately sons of God.

“It definitely has contributed to our running because that eternal perspective is really what grounds us. Racing is important and making an Olympic team is obviously a once in a lifetime thing, but there is more to this life than running.”

Read more about Conner Mantz and Clayton Young’s journey to the 2024 Paris Olympic Summer Games.

▶You may also like: Former BYU runners smash the US Olympic Marathon Trials

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