How Conner Mantz and other Utah runners finished at 127th Boston Marathon


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SALT LAKE CITY — When Conner Mantz qualified for the Boston Marathon for the first time, his father Robert, a former wrestler at Weber State who required several attempts to qualify, took an unusual tact in giving his Nike-signed pro son advice.

"Right before my first marathon, my dad gave me a ton of advice," Mantz said. "But with Boston, he didn't give me much, other than a few hills, like the famous Heartbreak Hill."

Maybe Robert Mantz's advice for the notorious final hill with a half-mile rise at Boston that some call the toughest incline from Center Street to Hammond Street was the best advice of all.

Mantz finished his first trip to Boston in 2 hours, 10 minutes and 25 seconds, good for 11th place among male runners and just under five minutes behind winner Evans Chebet. Fellow BYU alum Nico Montanez was just behind Mantz in 13th place, at 2:10:52.

Mantz's time was the third-fastest American finisher this year, trailing seventh-place Scott Fauble (2:09:44) and 10th-place Matthew McDonald (2:10:17).

But simply qualifying for Boston was a dream come true for Mantz, the former NCAA cross country champion from Sky View High who competed in his first marathon as a professional last October in Chicago — and finished seventh in 2:08.16, the top American time.

"The Boston Marathon is so historic," Mantz told KSL.com. "I remember my dad took eight tries just to qualify, and it was really a big deal for him just to run it. For me, it's always been the race I've always wanted to run. … Everybody somehow has a story with Boston — a runner who qualified, someone who wants to qualify for Boston — and it's really cool just to be able to race there."

Mantz wasn't the only runner from Utah to compete in the 127th Boston Marathon, which was held while honoring the lives impacted a decade after two bombs detonated near the finish line that killed three spectators and wounded more than 260 others.

More than 100 racers from Utah raced in the latest marathon, which was won by Chebet (2:05:54) and women's champion Hellen Obiri (2:21:38), a two-time Olympic medalist from Kenya. Hundreds more with ties to the state, like BYU alum Connor Weaver who races out of Texas and finished 24th overall in 2:16:25, also qualified.

Sylvia Bedford, a Southern Utah graduate who competed in the female 18-39 division, averaged a 6:27 mile for a final time of 2:48:54, which ranked 62nd in her division.

"It's such a big deal, and so many runners aspire to either spectate or run the Boston Marathon," Bedford said. "It's iconic, and I'm excited just to make it into such a cool atmosphere."

In addition to her own professional training, Bedford also helps other distance runners compete in local, national and even international races. Much of her clientele lives in Utah, aided by the recent advancement of Run Elite Program, a nonprofit professional organization based in Springville co-founded by Salt Lake Community College cross country coach Isaac Wood and U.S. Olympian and former BYU standout Jared Ward.

"We're in a very outdoor-friendly place; people come to Utahs for the outdoors, to run, to bike. It's easy to be active," Bedford said. "We also live at altitude, which gives us the benefits of training at a higher altitude and racing at a lower altitude like Boston."

Run Elite Program runners and their families gather at the Utah State Capitol with state senator Mike McKell during a sendoff event ahead of the 127th Boston Marathon.
Run Elite Program runners and their families gather at the Utah State Capitol with state senator Mike McKell during a sendoff event ahead of the 127th Boston Marathon. (Photo: Courtesy, Run Elite Program)

Established in 2021, Run Elite Program (REP) was founded by Ward, Wood and another friend Landon Southwick, who played Division II soccer at BYU-Hawaii, to bring together Utah's community of runners at the high school, collegiate and recreational levels into a professional organization.

The organization secured funding from the Utah state legislature in 2022, paving the way to sponsor athletes, provide recovery and wellness support, and host community events like the annual Night of the 5,000, a 5K run on a track that brings together hosts of athletes preteen to the elderly every spring.

"Statistically, we have some of the best runners in the country, per capita," said Utah state senator Mike McKell, who helped secure funding last July that made REP what is believed to be the first state-funded runner's program in the country. "What's cool about REP is we have a whole bunch of All-Americans and pro runners working with high school coaches and high schoolers across the state.

"What is happening in our state is incredible, and to be able to coordinate with them and have that expertise is incredible. And I'm excited to see Boston, and how Conner and other runners from the state of Utah do the rest of this year."

127th Boston Marathon

Top 10 men

  • Evans Chebet, 2:05:54
  • Gabriel Geay, 2:06:04
  • Benson Kiprupto, 2:06:06
  • Albert Korir, 2:08:01
  • Zouhair Talbi, 2:08:35
  • Eliud Kipchoge, 2:09:23
  • Scott Fauble, 2:09:44
  • Hassan Chahdi, 2:09:46
  • John Korir, 2:10:04
  • Matthew McDonald, 2:10:17

Top 3 American men

  • Scott Fauble, 2:09:44
  • Matthew McDonald, 2:10:17
  • Conner Mantz, 2:10:25

Top 10 women

  • Hellen Obri, 2:21:38
  • Amane Beriso, 2:21:50
  • Lonah Salpeter, 2:21:57
  • Ababel Yeshaneh, 2:22:00
  • Emma Bates, 2:22:10
  • Nazret Weldu, 2:23:25
  • Tanui Angeli, 2:24:12
  • Hiowt Gebremaryam, 2:24:30
  • Mary Ngugi, 2:24:33
  • Gotytom, 2:24:34

Top 3 American women

  • Emma Bates, 2:22:10
  • Aliphine Tuliamuk, 2:24:37
  • Nell Rojas, 2:24:51

Click here for full results

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