Route 66 Marathon post-script: The inspiring story of Mason Harvey

Mason Harvey

I have to be honest about something. It’s not easy to write about a major race when you’re not running in it. I previewed the Route 66 Marathon and had a couple of other posts mentioning it. I went to a blogger’s forum and heard from some stellar runners who also blog about running and a variety of other topics, and what makes them run and write. I checked out the sizable wellness expo.

Heck, I even shot out a few tweets about what was going on.

But the bottom line is I wished I was joining the thousands of other runners who lined up Sunday morning to run Tulsa’s big marathon/half marathon event. That sort of sucks the enthusiasm out of it. No one’s fault but mine: I waited too long to sign up, waiting to see if my training was up to snuff, and I missed the deadline.

I felt like the only person in the exhibit hall who wasn’t running it.

But there was something there that perked up my interest. It all had to do with a kid.

His name is Mason Harvey, an Oklahoma boy who, in sixth grade, was weighing more than 200 pounds and suffering from all of the health and social consequences of an adolescent suffering from childhood obesity.

He then proceeded to lose 85 pounds. He ran, exercised, changed his diet and started playing sports. He got active and changed the way he lives.

At the age of 12.

He’s not stopping there. Instead, he’s got a website, strivefor85.com, which tells his stories and encourages others to make small changes through their lives to find a healthy, sustainable lifestyle.

For his efforts, he was given the Kjell Tovander Award, which is given to people who change the world around them in an uplifting way. It was named after a person who ran the Route 66 Marathon in 2008, but died during the event.

This matters to me because this kid lives in a state that has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity and overall obesity in the country. Cases of diabetes have grown at a higher rate in Oklahoma than any other state in the country. Heart disease and stroke hits Oklahoma harder than almost anywhere else. These maladies didn’t just start suddenly. They started years ago, during the childhoods of tens of thousands of kids (maybe hundreds of thousands?) who spent countless hours in front of the tube, or playing video games or just not doing much of anything while downing bottles of soda and eating pounds and pounds of fast food every week.

Plenty of adults find it hard to make the kind of changes Mason has made. Fewer kids can do it. But Mason did. He quickly told his story, did so confidently, and is determined to reach out to other kids – as well as adults, including his own family – to help them get more active and healthy.

Check out his website or go to @strivefor85 on Twitter. See why he’s so awesome.

You’ve got to love finding inspiration from someone so young.

Bob Doucette

On Twitter @RMHigh7077

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2 thoughts on “Route 66 Marathon post-script: The inspiring story of Mason Harvey

  1. Thanks for sharing this story, Bob – at the American Cancer Society we’re really starting to focus on how we might make a difference in the obesity epidemic – and reduce the burden from cancers linked to obesity. Mason is such an inspiration!

    • He is. You can just imagine the pressure on a kid to drop the weight and get healthy, and the negative pressure that would make him quit. Mason is one heck of a boy. We need to lift up examples like him to other kids. I have no doubt we’ll see Mason busting a sub-three 26.2 in the future!

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