This is an interview with Zach Panning, who took sixth place at the 2024 U.S. Olympic Trials in Orlando, Florida, on February 3, 2024. Zach had the attention of the TV audience and fans on the course for 22.5 miles as he battled Connor Mantz and Clayton Young from the first few miles to the almost 23-mile point. 

During the broadcast, RunBlogRun covered the event live on-site and remotely. On our social coverage, we posted a story (which can be seen after this interview with updates) on Zach via X and Facebook. Zach was quite popular, as the story was viewed over 82,000 times during the morning broadcast. 

Many running fans identified with Zach Panning and his bravery in Orlando.

We thought we would catch up with Zach before the Boston Marathon week. Special thanks to Megan Still, Brooks communications, for reaching Zach after he returned to training after his marathon battle in Orlando, Florida. 

We especially thank Zach Panning for his honesty and thoughtful responses. We look forward to seeing him in his next marathon.

Also, a shout-out to Kevin and Keith Hanson, the brothers behind the Hansons Brooks Original Distance Project, the club that supports Zach Panning. 

RunBlogRun, #1.  Zach, you ran a gutsy race in Orlando; can you talk about that experience? What did you learn?

Zach Panning: I’m really proud of my race. Although I may have been a little too excited in parts and missed my last bottle, I executed my race plan, and I gave it everything I had. I have no regrets and know there will be more meaningful marathon races in the future.

Zach Panning, U.S. Olympic Team Marathon Trials, photo by Kevin Morris
Orlando, Florida
February 3, 2024

RunBlogRun, #2: What will your Spring season look like?

Zach Panning: 

BAA 5k (April 13, 2024), 17th place, 14:45 (9,146 finishers)
Night of 10k PBs (May 18, 2024)
Olympic Track Trials (June 20-29, 2024)

Zach Panning, BAA 5k, Boston Marathon, presented by Bank of America, photo by Kevin Morris

RunBlogRun, #3: Will we see you on the track for the 10,000m?

Zach Panning: Yes! I’m really excited to get on the track and run some faster races this summer. I’m planning to race a 10k in the coming weeks and hope to get an auto-qualifier for Eugene’s Olympic Trials.

Zack Panning, USATF 10000m, photo by Brooks Communications

RunBlogRun, #4:  What has it been like seeing the outpouring of support after trials?

Zach Panning: People are why I fell in love with running and have continued pursuing it for so long. My family, coaches, and teammates have supported me through the good and hard days, too, and this has been no exception. I’ve really appreciated and feel humbled by the love and support from my community and everyone who has reached out since the Trials.

Zach Panning, Connor Mantz, Clayton Young, photo by Kevin Morris, 2024 US Olympic Trials

RunBlogRun, #5: Are you back to full training?

Zach Panning: I’m back to training and a bit of racing. I was able to race Chicago’s Shamrock Shuffle with the rest of the team, but I am looking forward to feeling fully race-ready again.

Zack Panning, USATF XC, photo by Brooks Communications

RunBlogRun, #6:  Looking back to your performance in Budapest, how did it help you plan for trials and beyond?

Zach Panning: Budapest allowed me to race a marathon in a championship setting. Representing Team USA added a new consideration to executing my own run, which I hadn’t had the chance to experience before. I handled it well, which gave me confidence in my training leading into the Trials.


 Zach Panning: From Fort Wayne to Orlando, the Marathon Journey continues