John Mason - Mason's Marathons
Updated: Nov 25, 2020
I am married with two children and have worked for twenty years as an aerospace engineer in the Bristol area. In October 2020 I ran the Atlantic Challenge which comprised 3 marathons in 3 days along the Cornish coast path from Padstow to Land’s End to raise money for the foundation.
I have always loved sport and it has been a huge part of my life ever since I started swimming as a kid and running cross country at school. I was always good but not the best, but that spurred me to train harder than anyone else. It wasn’t until I found triathlon in my late twenties that being decent at all three sports came together and I started competing a high level. I was lucky enough to represented Great Britain for my age group which led to some fantastic experiences at some amazing races. However, as I got closer and closer to being in contention for medals it started to take an, initially, unconscious toll. I would train myself to exhaustion and started to have an unhealthy relationship with food.
A few years back I decided I should step back from racing and get a few aspects of my life back in perspective. I still love sport and I always will so I didn’t want to stop training, I just needed new targets and new motivation. Since then I’ve taken on many different challenges; I completed an Ironman, 7 triathlons in a weekend, ran the London Marathon in a Spiderman morph suit and ridden John O’Groats to Land’s End, all for various charities. I have found I really enjoy the process of figuring out how to prepare and adapting the training I might normally do… then seeing if it worked! For 2021 I will attempt a 100km ultramarathon; definitely sounds a long way and when I get back from a bike ride that long I realise there is a lot of running to do between now and July!
I chose the 401 foundation as the charity to run for this year for a few reasons. The first being that I had read Ben’s book and spoken to him a couple of times at events in Portishead. He has such an interesting story to tell and is so passionate about making a difference. This year’s global events have really highlighted the importance of looking after mental health, how prevalent these issues can be and how they can take many forms. Finally, 3 marathons in 3 days seemed to be a very “401-type” thing to do.
The experience was wonderful, the terrain is pretty challenging but it’s such a beautiful place to run you can just switch off and enjoy the views. I ran with a couple of lovely guys from Wales on the first two days and if it weren’t for lockdowns, I would be running a few more events with them this year. On the final day I was joined by my wife who was running only her second marathon which I absolutely loved, although I’m not sure she enjoyed it as much as I did!
My advice to others looking to raise money for this fantastic charity is to find an event or challenge that inspires you tests your limits. After all, you will never find your limits if you are too afraid to look for them. The possibility of failure should not be feared… but it will help to get people to put their hands in their pockets
and support you.