Former BYU Cougars runner Conner Mantz is used to winning at a high level, having taken home both the 2020 and 2021 Division I cross country titles.

Now a professional, Mantz already had a USA half marathon title to his name, and on Monday, he won the USA Track & Field 20K championship in New Haven, Connecticut with a time of 59:08, five seconds ahead of second-place finisher Leonard Korir.

According to a story by Let’s Run’s Dave Monti, Mantz led essentially the whole way and surged ahead in the final 800 meters to secure the win.

“It was brutal,” Monti quotes Mantz as saying regarding leading early. “I didn’t realize how bad the humidity would be. Miles three, four and five kind of really hit me.”

A 20K is roughly 12.43 miles.

As experienced as Mantz is, he is now preparing for a challenge he’s never faced: A marathon. The 25-year-old will make his marathon debut in Chicago on Oct. 9.

Clayton Young, who ran for BYU from 2015-2018, took eighth in the race.

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