Jason Salyer wins the 2024 men’s race

He plays

He still has it.

In February, Jason Salyer was questioning his ability as an elite runner after failing to finish the Olympic Marathon Trials in Orlando. Salyer has found his groove over the past few months and returned to glory by repeating as men’s Flying Pig Marathon champion.

“It’s a day of redemption,” Salyer said. “It was a real struggle for me mentally and emotionally. I doubted my ability. I dug deep today, believed in myself, and moved very well. I felt really strong at the end. I’m so grateful for the course. The support, family support and overall community support from here and in the home.

“There were days when I thought maybe I didn’t have it anymore. I had to focus on being the best version of myself that day. I didn’t worry about the time today. I just focused on the effort.”

Salyer is the first back-to-back men’s full marathon champion since five-time winner Sergio Reyes who won three in a row from 2012-2014. The 33-year-old Tipp City native let out all his emotions as he approached the final “Pigs,” electrifying the crowd before breaking the tape in 2:26:01, one minute better than his winning time a year ago. .

“For people who don’t know me and see those feelings, they might think I’m cocky or arrogant or an idiot. That’s not the case,” Salyer said. “There was a lot of energy and emotion built up that I was finally able to release.”

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Salyer went back and forth with 23-year-old Adam Pickler to the tune of six lead changes.

“Every time I took the lead from him (Bueckler), I didn’t know if that lead was going to last or not. When he took the lead on me, I just told myself to stay in touch and that this is a long race,” Salyer said. He said.

Near mile 22, Salyer finally got the breakaway and was able to pull away for a 52-second victory. Two-time champion Jack Randall finished third in 2:27:34.

“It’s very difficult to replicate that,” Salyer said. “You never know who’s going to show up at this event. This was Adam’s first time running. He’s just moved to the area. You get a general sense of who’s going to show up,” Salyer said. “It’s rewarding because it’s a competitive race, it’s a big race and it’s No. 1 in America.”

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