By David Rogers. BLOWING ROCK, N.C. — Both veterans of the Blowing Rock-based ZAP Endurance elite professional running team, Tyler Pennel and Josh Izewski will again take their talents onto the world stage this weekend for the Sept. 24 Berlin Marathon, in Germany.
Pennel, 35, dealt with nagging injuries off and on since the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in Los Angeles where the eventual second place finisher Meb Keflezigh declared later, “Tyler made the race.” It was a soundbite that reverberated around the world after Pennel gamely broke out of the pack at Mile 13 and led by as much as 90 seconds until he was passed by Galen Rupp at Mile 19. Holding on for a fifth place finish, Pennel forced the pace and forced the frontrunners to respond, and earning international respect.
Pennel’s steady return to the world stage has been methodical, including a 1:05:25 in a Philadelphia half marathon on Sept. 18, 2022, and a respectable 2:12:16 marathon a few months later, at the Jan. 15,2023, Houston Marathon. In some “speed” training, on July 15, he finished No. 18 in the USA Men’s 8km Road Running Championships in Kingsport, Tenn., with a time of 24:23. He has twice finished in the top eight of a major marathon race.
ZAP Endurance teammate Josh Izewski, 33, had some outstanding earlier performances, but really burst onto the global stage earlier this year when he finished No. 5 in Australia’s Gold Coast Marathon, finishing the 26.2 mile distance in 2:11.26. That mark improved on his 2022 Houston Marathon time of 2:12:45, when he finished No. 8. He ran a 1:03:17 half marathon in Philadelphia a year ago.
ZAP Endurance head coach Pete Rea believes that Pennel and Izewski training together leading up to the Berlin race will help both of them, pushing each other and picking each other up where one might falter, running alone.