It is rare to come across a soul in the running community that is genuine, caring, and has a personality that is so charismatic and infectious. Well, this is McKinley Mason. He is a Husband, Father, Grand Dude, Marathoner, Ironman, and on the road to being a 6 star, and 7 continent finisher. I had the pleasure to chat with him and get to know what makes this 64 year old phenom tick.
Kim: I hear a little twang in your voice, where are you from?
McKenley: I'm from the Southern part of Virginia, the rural area. I’m a country boy, and I never wanted to let that side of me get away because that's who I am still today, even though I've done a lot of things in a lot of places, seeing a lot of people. Those roots are where I came from. It's in everything that I do today. It goes all the way back to those days when I worked in the fields, when I had to get up, go to school, had to work after school. It was all about getting a lot of stuff done.
Kim: What part of Virginia were you from?
McKenley: It's a county called Dinwiddie County. If you’ve ever traveled south on 95, you hit Petersburg and you had to go to Atlanta, you take 85. Mm-hmm. . and Dinwiddie is the first county that you go through. A lot of people say, Oh, that's where they write all those tickets at! We have all the little cuts where the police hand out, and a lot of people get tickets in our county. That's why a lot of people know Dinwiddie County. Mm-hmm .
Kim: Are you still in that area now?
McKenley: Yes, well, I, I graduated from high school, went to college here locally at Virginia State University. In 1981 graduated ROTC, so I went into the military and once I retired I wanted to come back home because I loved where I grew up; I loved everything about it.
And the general, you know, who's my wife, she really could prosper in a city like New York City. I tell people all the time, we are like Green Acres. I'm that guy, she’s that lady. So when we were discussing where we were gonna live, I wanted to move back to the deep country. She was like, no, we can move to the country, but it has to be within two miles of the city. So I literally live in a suburban area and have neighbors, but we get to the city in like five minutes. So that was the negotiation .
Kim: So speaking of the general (his wife) were you two High School sweethearts?
McKenley: Yes, we literally go back that far. I knew her in school when I was a senior. I could remember seeing her in the hallway and of course too shy to say anything, I mean, I'm truly an introvert. People don't believe that I'm so scared of people, but I literally am, so I didn't know how to introduce myself, so I didn’t. Her senior year, a cousin of mine was in class with her and I asked my cousin to do whatever you have to do, please get her phone number. He did somehow, and I called her on the phone and invited her out. We went to the fair one day and boom, here we are, 40 some years later.
Kim: What does the General think about you traveling all over the world and the country to do these races?
McKenley: Sometimes I have to describe people that know me in the race world, they didn't know me like 12 years ago. I ran my first marathon at 52 and the previous me, I wasn't always this Deacon. So before that a lot of my friends and people I work with, people I went to school with they didn't call me this Deacon, they called me the Mac Daddy! That's who I was, believe it. So compared to those days and these days, she would take what I do now a lot better. I kind of switched one life for another life and, a lot of things going on back then. What she see in me now, just go out, run a race, come back and just lay on the couch. She's very happy.
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