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8 March 2024   |   10k, Half Marathon, Marathon   |   

How life began at 50 for 6* Finisher Mckenley Mason!

Mckenley Mason completed his sixth star at the Tokyo Marathon, but it all started at the age of 50, when Mckenley decided to turn his life around. Now he’s conquered all Six Abbott World Marathon Majors and doesn’t plan to stop anytime soon. Read more of his inspiring story – proving that it’s never too late to start running!

Why did you decide to start running?

It all changed for me on the year of my 50th birthday, I decided to stop drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes. My parents both died of cancer before turning 55, so when I turned 50, I knew I had to make a change. My body thanked me massively because once I had stopped, I found myself running 2-3 hours just for fun!

I accidentally stumbled upon the Abbott World Marathon Majors. I ran the Chicago and Berlin Marathons because I wanted to travel and explore new countries with friends, while staying active. After running the two marathons, I learned about the Majors and I knew I wanted to become a 6-star finisher as a minority athlete.


What’s your favorite World Marathon Major?

Hands down, The Boston Marathon. The history of the Boston Marathon, watching it on TV as a young Army Lieutenant, and thinking ‘could this be me one day?’ I went to Boston three days early, so I could soak it all in by myself. I felt that I was making history as a 63-year-old black marathoner. Boston was my 4th major, and I will always remember my experience there. I have gone back each year to volunteer and support my Black unicorn brother and sisters.


How did you prepare for your final star?

The Tokyo Marathon was my final major, and I put in all the training I could. I researched the cutoff points and learned that the Japanese are very strict with timings. I trained hard so I could bank an hour. At the actual race, I approached mile 14 and realised I was an hour ahead of the cut off time!

How do you keep yourself motivated to keep going during a marathon?

I have learned that running a marathon is a mental feat over the physical, especially after mile 20. I teach new runners that the marathon doesn’t start until mile 20! I tell them to run miles 1-20 as a training run, adjusting at certain mile makers. Once you get to mile 20 it’s you against yourself.


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