Tipp City man goes to Olympic Marathon Trials


TIPP CITY — Jason Salyer, 32, of Tipp City, recently qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials by running the 26 mile California International Marathon in 2 hours, 17 minutes and 14 seconds on Sunday, Dec. 4, in Folsom.

Salyer has been a competitive long distance runner since his time on the cross country and track and field teams at Tippecanoe High School until he graduated in 2009. He then went on to continue competing in long distance running sports in college at Bowling Green State University.

He graduated from college in 2013 and between graduation and 2019 his personal training and fitness took a back seat to his teaching and coaching careers. During this time he also switched career paths and obtained a master’s degree in business from Wright State University and is now a project manager for Defense Finance Accounting Service (DFAS). With the career change and the fact that his job is now 100% remote, he has found a good work-life balance and has returned to running regularly since 2019. Though he is not teaching anymore, Salyer is still a volunteer coach for the Tippecanoe High School cross country team.

“I went through this cycle for five consecutive years of training a good amount for nine months and then my priority would shift in the winter and then not run for three months and get completely out of shape. Then I would fall into this big hole and I’d have to climb myself out of this big hole to get back into decent fitness. I would run locally competitive times, but my fitness was nowhere near where it is right now,” said Salyer.

Also in 2019, Salyer founded the Dayton Distance Project (DDP). The DDP is a group of 15 to 20 locally elite runners that meet to run and train together as a way to push each other to be the best athletes they can be. The group typically meets twice a week; once for a Wednesday morning workout and again on Saturdays for a morning long run.

“Dayton is a hot spot for running … I reached out to everybody that I knew and said, ‘Hey, we should train together. I think we can help each other run faster.’ Even though running is mostly an individual sport you can just so much faster and farther when you have people pushing you to compete at your best. So the Dayton Distance Project was formed,” said Salyer. “I think me getting situated into my career coupled with the fact that I started training with local elites really allowed me to take off with my fitness.”

Then, during the pandemic in 2020, Salyer took a break for the year from running due to being burnt out and all of the races being cancelled and so when he started running again in 2021 he started completely from scratch and just a year later he qualified for the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials.

Salyer chose to compete in the California International Marathon, where he qualified for the Olympic Marathon Trials by running with a time under 2 hours and 18 minutes, because it is one of the most competitive races in the U.S.

To prepare for the trials, Salyer does not want to “reinvent the wheel” because the training he has done so far has allowed him to achieve the great results he’s seen so far.

“I don’t want to just continue the same things I’ve been doing, I don’t want to stay in the same shape. I’m not going to just be happy to be at the Olympic Trials. It’s not going to be like a vacation for me. I’m going there with a competitive mindset. I want to compete and I want to do as well as I possible can. Even though I had really good training that allowed me to qualify, I want to continue to do a lot of that training, but there are some things that I want to fine tune or improve upon so I can reach an even better fitness level,” said Salyer.

As a qualifier for the trials, Salyer has received two sponsorships that will help him train and compete at a high level. His sponsors are Runners Plus, a local Dayton running company that is supplying him with shoes and injury-prevention equipment, and his second sponsor is Xcel Sports Medicine. Xcel is providing Salyer with free physical therapy sessions for a year to help maintain his health.

Salyer noted that in the months leading up to the trials he plans to be running about 120 miles per week and two workouts a week.

There will be about 150-200 qualifying runners that compete in the trials in Orlando, Florida on Feb. 3, 2024. Of those runners, the top three will represent the U.S. at the 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris. Though he does not feel that he will be one of the top three runners, Salyer plans to give the race his all and despite the outcome is honored to have qualified and to be competing against the best runners in the U.S.

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